Dance First

Gary Ryan Concert

Our first concert of the new season was given by the Club’s patron, Gary Ryan.

Gary is an acclaimed solo performer, composer and teacher of guitar. He has an International career and has played all over the world and so it was wonderful to have him come to Bognor Regis to play for us. He studied both guitar and piano from the age of 8. He studied further at the Guildhall School of Music and later at the Royal Academy of Music where he won many prizes. In 1996 at the age of just 27 years, he was appointed Professor of Guitar at the Royal College of Music where he is now also Assistant Head of Strings. In 2013 he became the first guitarist since John Williams (in 1983) to be awarded a Fellowship of the RCM in recognition of his contribution to the instrument. 

The packed audience was treated to a wide range of the very best of guitar music all superbly played with great feeling. The concert began with the Suite Populaire Bresilienne which Villa Lobos composed between 1907 – 1912.Gary explained that this was a fusion of both Brazilian and European music. We then heard Hello Francis, a rare composition by John Williams. In 2015 Gary was invited by John Williams to form a new collaborative guitar trio - ‘6 Hands’ – with jazz guitarist John Etheridge. Gary would play after John William’s solo spot and John’s composition Hello Francis was a jolly piece to bridge the gap. The first half of the concert finished with three popular compositions by Gary. Lough Caragh (a lake in Kerry, Eire) a very emotional piece with rich guitar tones. Hot Club Francais which Manus Noble had commissioned Gary to write in memory of Django Rheinhardt. Gary confided that he had woven part of Villa-Lobos’s Prelude no. 5 into the piece.  Finally Benga Beat which Gary wrote in 2011 and was based on popular Kenyan music of the 1940s. This featured Gary invisibly humming along.

For his encore piece Gary played another of his wonderful arrangements of a popular song – Morning Has Broken. A truly fitting end to a fine concert


Terry Woodgate

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