Ryan Muncy

Ryan Muncy is saxophonist of the International Contemporary Ensemble and has been praised for “amazing virtuosity” (The Chicago Tribune) and his ability to “show off the instrument’s malleability and freakish extended range as well as its delicacy and refinement” (The Chicago Reader). 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.

Muncy is a recipient of the Kranichstein Music Prize awarded at the 46th International Summer Courses in Darmstadt (Germany), a Fulbright Fellowship in France, the Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists, Harriet Hale Woolley Fellowship of the Fondation des Etats-Unis Paris, and has participated in the creation of more than 250 new works for the instrument.

Hot, his debut solo album, was released in 2013 by New Focus Recordings to critical acclaim, praised as “absorbing” (Alex Ross) and “one of the year’s best albums” (Time Out New York). Muncy’s second solo album, ism, was released by TUNDRA/New Focus Recordings in 2016, recognized by The Chicago Tribune for its “technical prowess.”

He has been a soloist at international music festivals including Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik Darmstadt, and at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City) for the U.S. premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Klang, in which The New York Times described his performance of Edentia as a highlight of the entire cycle—”especially memorable… a solitary walker inside a tornado.” He performs regularly with several leading contemporary music ensembles including Talea Ensemble and Wet Ink Ensemble.

Muncy has built collaborative relationships with many leading composers whose works he has premiered, including Ashley Fure, Tyshawn Sorey, Marcos Balter, Steven Takasugi, Chaya Czernowin, George Lewis, Wojtek Blecharz, Anthony Cheung, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Du Yun, Erin Gee, Nathan Davis, and Matana Roberts. Extensive work with composer Wang Lu has included On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous—an ongoing project with poet Ocean Vuong and guitarist Dan Lippel which debuted in 2017—as well as Wang Lu’s Transplant, Transpose, whose world premiere in 2019 featured Muncy as soloist with the Berlin-based Ensemble Mosaik.

In recent years, Ryan has performed at Vienna Modern, LA Phil’s Noon to Midnight, Warsaw Autumn, Sacrum Profanum (Krakow), Time Spans Festival (NYC), The Met Museum’s METlive, The Park Avenue Armory, the Library of Congress, MATA Festival, Prototype Festival, and The Stone. He was a guest curator for the City of Chicago’s Loops and Variations series at the Chicago Cultural Center and was a soloist with the Amazonas Philharmonic (Manaus, Brazil) for the second-ever performance of Salvatore Sciarrino’s Graffito Sul Mare. He has recorded for numerous labels including New Focus Recordings, New Amsterdam, Kairos, Carrier Records, Wergo, and TUNDRA.

Muncy has served on the music faculty of The New School’s College of Performing Arts (Mannes School of Music) in New York City, and has previously taught at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (Banff, Alberta) and Northern Illinois University School of Music. He holds the Doctor of Music degree from Northwestern University and his teachers include Frederick L. Hemke, John Sampen, John-Michel Goury, Jean-Yves Fourmeau, George Wolfe, and Caroline Hartig. One of the most influential people in his life has been Ron Jones (Louisville, KY), his first saxophone teacher.

Ryan is a Conn-Selmer Artist and performs on Selmer Paris saxophones.

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