Ryan Stewart

Composer

Author

About

Ryan Stewart’s passion is music. He has come a long way from the child who was expected to practice the piano before playing with friends, or the teenager who spent his lunch hour playing the piano on the stage at his local high school. Stewart has now fulfilled a fourth album release “Memories – Best of Solo Piano”, a celebration of 15 original solo piano works from his first three albums.

Raised in Salt Lake City, Stewart says his mother is his inspiration. A classically trained pianist herself, she wanted to share her love of music with her children. Sadly, she passed away from breast cancer when he was just 13. Stewart says this was a poignant moment in his life and he realized the gift she had given to him. He said, “As a teenager I missed her and I would sit at the piano and play and think about her.” His father encouraged him to continue to pursuing his talent.

After graduating from high school, Stewart was awarded a full-ride scholarship in music to the University of Utah. He perfected his piano skills as he studied, played and taught piano lessons. He especially enjoyed teaching students with an affinity for composition and song writing. Although Stewart eventually left the music department and pursued a career in computers, he never lost his desire to compose and play the instrument he loves. Today, he does music full time and his passion has become something his wife, Cindy, and their three children cherish when spending time together..

Ryan’s greatest ambition is to combine his love of music, computers, and traveling to create compositions for fans around the world. He has a gift for orchestrating just about anything, beginning with a concerto he wrote at the age of 17. He has composed and arranged music for film documentaries, Cellist Stephen S. Nelson (ThePianoGuys), Paul Cardall, Facebook, several dance studios, and several others

Sheets

Interview

What does music mean to you personally?

Music is essential to me in every way. I’m both a composer and performer. My mother was a classically trained pianist and organist. She started me on the piano at age seven. At that time, I didn’t care for music as classical lessons seemed to be somewhat boring, mechanical, and even stressful. I obviously missed the point of music and would get angry that I wasn’t able to run around with the neighborhood kids. A year later, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She passed away five years later when I was thirteen. Her death completely transformed my attitude about music. The gift of music she gave me was the very thing that got me through the darkest days of my life. To this day, she is my inspiration.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

NO, I understand that many of us listen to music to calm our ruminating minds or to transport us to a different place. Music directs our awareness away from analytical thinking and presents us with a stimulating sensory world of sonic color. This colorful world is no less real than the visual world. Perhaps it’s even more real. Music is clearly used to join the physical world with the emotional world in the stories we tell. These stories can be fictional or real.

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?

Great question. To he honest, I’ve always imagined myself doing music professionally. I was able to finally quit my full-time professional software job in 2015 to do music full-time. In addition to music, I love learning languages, philosophy, science, and most of all, traveling. I’ve always wanted to see the world and take every opportunity to discover new places. My wife and I love to travel and she calls me her international music man because I want to combine my music with my travels and languages.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?

NO, I’m not worried at all. Classical music has obviously transcended every generation. Technology is now enabling this beautiful art form to be shared and streamed to places it was never heard before. As one audience ages in one part of the world, another younger audience can be seen flourishing in another part of the world.

What do you envision the role of classical music to be in the 21 century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

I see classical music as the grand father of western music in that it largely represents a snapshot of the identity and history of these cultures. What seems to evolve over time is the varied interpretations and performances of this music and its story. For example, composers and song writers are redressing classical melodies by incorporating them into new orchestrations, new song arrangements, and with new instruments. In addition, much of the structure of modern orchestral music and film music today is clearly grounded in the roots and elements our cherished traditional repertoire. Therefore, I’m happy to see some artists today who are keeping it relevant to the masses and inspiring the next generation to passionately play the traditional orchestral instruments. It is my hope that upcoming artists and performers will continue to tell the story of classical music. From this, it would seem that classical music is alive and well in this generation and the next; although the emphasis has shifted from traditional concert halls to cinema and television screens.

When I say that classical music is searching for new ways or that the classical music is getting a new face, what would come to your mind?

The only goal needed by classical music is that it remain passionate rather than stagnated rules of tradition and mechanics. The greatest composers and performers are guided first by passion and heart as this has always been the enduring face of classical music. As stated earlier, many artists are passionately incorporating classical themes and melodies into their music. Also, many major films incorporate the instruments and elements found in classical music.

Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative? Whats the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

YES, musicians need to always remain creative. Ultimately, creative music is always born from passion. Performances lacking passion and creativity sound rather boring, mechanical, and irrelevant. Listeners want to hear new creative interpretations. The performers must embody and take on the song(s) they are performing. The world has become the new stage as the internet has provided a new way for listeners across the globe to discover new classical musicians and songs. ThePianoGuys and Lindsey Sterling are examples of creative musicians bringing fresh interpretations to audiences. Creativity combined with passion is critical and must be at the center of any performance and/or composition.

Do you think we musicians can do something to attract young generation into the classical music concerts? How will you proceed?

YES, as musicians, we need to listen to our audiences and give them passionate material to which they can relate. I could be mistaken, but it seems that people mainly come to music concerts because they already have a genuine relationship with the musical repertoire and/or artist and, in addition, they are seeking a real concert experience. Therefore, for many listeners, the relationship with the music begins “prior to” the concert hall. This is the case for the majority of my listeners. The listener most likely heard about the content through another medium such as the internet, television, radio, CD, record player, etc. With this said, I believe the primary goal is to get the young generation acquainted with the repertoire in ANY medium. They will then be more likely to come out to the traditional concert hall in the end.

Tell us about your creative process. Do you have your favorite piece (written by you) How did you start working on it?

Creativity for me is usually less analytical and more sensory and emotional. I usually write music away from my piano and try to find someplace very quiet and peaceful. Contrary to that, my song Autumn came about while I was sitting at the piano on an Autumn morning while listening to the soft wind blowing the leaves outside my windows. It is as if the wind spoke the melody to me during a moment of quietude. This song has become one of my more popular songs on Pandora Radio and Spotify, perhaps because it contains so many elements found in traditional classical music in which people can relate.

We, Moving Classics TV, love the combination of classical music with different disciplines: music and painting, music and cinematography, music and digital art, music and poetry. What do you think about these combinations?

I enjoy all of these combinations. I strongly believe that music can and should be used in these and other disciplines. For several years, I found lots of enjoyment playing music for dance studios where I provided real-time choreography for dancers. My favorite combination, of course, is cinematography. Music is meant to go with visual motion. For many people, this is how they came to build a genuine relationship with music in the first place. I can’t imagine what our greatest films today would be like without the musical score. Can you?

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

YES, I would tell them that they should start with what they love. Most people are fond of a particular genre of music. How did they come to love what they love in that genre? Answer: through discovery and curiosity. Classical music is no different in that it needs to be discovered. The beauty of streaming today is that it makes available virtually every performance across the world. Music is literally available at our fingertips (no pun intended) I would use these as starters to introduce them to the repertoire.

Now it is a common practice in the media to talk that the classical music is getting into the consumption business, do you agree? We are speaking about the supply and demand rules and how to sell your “product” in your case your compositions. How do you see it?

If I understand the question correctly, I don’t necessarily agree since classical music has always been consumed. Originally, it was directly consumed at the concert hall. However, as technology was created and evolved, classical music was consumed music through radio, record players, cassette players, CDs, and TV. Finally, this music is now being consumed through internet streaming. Therefore, for me, having the opportunity to share my music with an audience is the most important aspect to what I do. It’s important that I give my listeners the most passionate musical experience possible. With this said, I can only do this if I’m able to earn some income from such an endeavor. The relationship is clearly symbiotic in nature. The audience depends on the music and the composer(s) and/or performer(s) depend on the audience.

Do you have expectations what regards your listeners, your audience?

NO, I believe that if composers and performers are authentic to themselves by writing with passion and creativity, they will ultimately discover their audience. I must first listen to the voice within me before succumbing to the opinions of others. In this way, I remain authentic and true to myself and my music. From this, I believe I can discover my genuine audience. Finally, I’m grateful to Moving Classics TV, Pandora Music, Spotify, and so many other websites and audience platforms for sharing my music with the world at large thereby giving me an opportunity to discover my audience in the first place.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

I’ve begun to make videos that combine my travels around the world with my music compositions. I recently released an Iceland video that features my 17 year old daughter’s voice (Aysia Stewart). I’m very new to video editing and photography. This is where I’m experimenting and enjoying it. I just returned from Japan and China where I recorded some video footage for some songs. I plan to continue in this vein. I can’t wait to see what final video(s) and composition(s) come from of this adventure. In addition to this, I’m working on a Celtic album with Aysia. She has an amazing voice along with a talent for lyrics. So, I’m really excited about this because this is my first father-daughter album. Finally, I want to thank you Anna for this opportunity to share my thoughts. I really appreciate what you are doing for classical music and for so many musicians and listeners today.

WEBSITE: www.ryanstewartmusic.com

SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6C3BLXg58ruQY0PmlhV7sy? si=6X23MKNWSn6O72A6hjfybQ

iTUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/ryan-stewart/274847315

LATEST VIDEO RELEASE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3F0yEJCrL0