The (con)temporary (in)sights initiative brings new audiences, composers, and performers together to celebrate and explore the world of contemporary music. Our 2015 concert series focuses on featuring composers/performers of exceptional musicality and aims to contextualize some of the most intricate and demanding contemporary music being written today.
We are thrilled to feature such a distinguished performer: saxophonist, Ryan Muncy.
Praised for “superb” performances by The New York Times as well as his ability to “show off the instrument’s malleability and freakish extended range as well as its delicacy and refinement” by The Chicago Reader, Ryan Muncy is a saxophonist who performs, commissions, and presents new music. His work emphasizes collaborative relationships with composers and artists of his generation and aims to reimagine the way listeners experience the saxophone through contemporary music. He is a recipient of the Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists, a Fulbright Fellowship in France, the Harriet Hale Woolley Fellowship of the Fondation des États-Unis in Paris, and has participated in the creation of more than 125 new works for the instrument. His debut solo album Hot was released by New Focus Recordings in 2013 to critical acclaim, praised as “absorbing” (Alex Ross) and “one of the year’s best albums” (Time Out New York). He holds graduate degrees in music performance from Northwestern University and Bowling Green State University, where he studied under Dr. Frederick L. Hemke and Dr. John Sampen, respectively.
Before joining the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) as Saxophonist & Director of Institutional Giving, Muncy was, from 2010 to 2014, the executive director of the Chicago-based Ensemble Dal Niente, a 20-member contemporary music collective described by the Chicago Tribune as “super-musicians” and “a model of what contemporary music needs, but seldom gets, to reach and engage a wider public”. Under his leadership, Dal Niente was named the first-ever ensemble recipient of the Kranichstein Music Prize in 2012, awarded at the 46th International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany. Muncy is also a founding member of Anubis Quartet, a multi-faceted chamber group established in 2007 with the aim of reshaping the saxophone quartet genre. Since then, the quartet has commissioned more than 40 new works and remains one of few worldwide in which all four players perform regularly on the entire battery of saxophones. Muncy is also a member of The Walden School Players, the ensemble-in-residence of The Walden School, an immersive creative program for young composers and performers held every summer in Dublin, New Hampshire.
Muncy has built collaborative relationships with many composers whose works he has premiered, including Chaya Czernowin, George Lewis, Christian Wolff, Marcos Balter, Raphaël Cendo, Ashley Fure, Evan Johnson, Gregory Saunier, Nathan Davis, Sabrina Schroeder, Sam Pluta, Morgan Krauss, and Monte Weber. His goal of bringing new music to new audiences has led to continental premieres of works by Salvatore Sciarrino, Georges Aperghis, Beat Furrer, Olga Neuwirth, Mark Andre, Liza Lim, Giorgio Netti, Enno Poppe, Pierluigi Billone, Dai Fujikura, and Hans Thomalla.
He performs frequently at international festivals and series, including Wien Modern, Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik Darmstadt, Montréal Nouvelles Musiques International Festival, Ecstatic Music Festival, the Miller Theater’s Composer Portrait Series, Constellation’s Frequency Series, MATA’s Interval Series, Liquid Music at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Center, Unruly Music, Festival Internacional Chihuahua, The Fromm Concert Series at Harvard, SALT New Music Festival, MusicArte Panamá, World Saxophone Congresses in Bangkok and Montreal, and the Ear Heart Music Series in New York as well as classical radio stations WQXR (New York) and WFMT (Chicago). Muncy performs regularly with the Talea Ensemble and the Grant Park Symphony, and has held numerous residencies and conducted arts management workshops at universities and cultural institutions across North America and abroad. During the 2013-14 season, Muncy was a guest curator for the City of Chicago’s Loops and Variations concert series at the Chicago Cultural Center and, in September 2014, was a soloist with the Amazonas Philharmonic (Manaus, Brazil) for the second-ever performance of Salvatore Sciarrino’s Graffito Sul Mare.
In 2012, Muncy received the Doctor of Music degree from Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, where he studied with Frederick L. Hemke. His past teachers include John Sampen (2006 MM, Bowling Green State University), John-Michel Goury (2007 C.O.P., CRR Boulogne-Billancourt, France), Jean-Yves Fourmeau (CNR Cergy-Pontoise, France), George Wolfe (2003 BM, Ball State University), Caroline Hartig, and Ron Jones. A devoted educator and pedagogue, Muncy previously served on Northern Illinois University’s School of Music faculty as an instructor of saxophone and music business. He is Conn-Selmer Artist and performs on Selmer Paris saxophones.
Program to include pieces:
Ann Cleare: Luna (2014, US Premiere) for alto saxophone
Chaya Czernowin: The Last Leaf (2011, NYC Premiere) for sopranino saxophone
Evan Johnson: Largo Calligrafico (2012, NYC Premiere) for baritone saxophone
Andrew Greenwald: 33 Words Compressed (2013, NYC Premiere) for soprano saxophone
Aaron Cassidy: Asphyxia (2000) for soprano saxophone