Composer William Ryden was born in New York City in 1939 and is a life-long resident of Forest Hills, NY.
He received his training at the American Conservatory of Music, Chicago; the Mannes College of Music, New York; and in private study with the late Hungarian maestro, Tibor Serly. Mr. Ryden’s work covers the full spectrum of vocal, choral, solo, chamber and orchestral music.
His principal compositions include a piano concerto, concertos for trumpet, clarinet, two horns, piccolo; a rhapsody for violin, string quartets, brass quintets; the musicals “Ragtag! or The Mayor’s New Suit”, and “Through the Looking-Glass”; and over 250 rags for piano. A collection of twelve of these rags called “Glad Rags & Sad Rags” was recorded by Canadian pianist John Arpin and released simultaneously with a folio of the music by Squanlake Music. 1983 saw his Quintet for Oboe and Strings premiered by The Con Brio Ensemble at Carnegie Recital Hall.
In 1992 Orchestra New England, James Sinclair, conductor, and John Arpin, pianist, gave the world premiere of his “Concerto in Ragtime” for piano and orchestra at Battell Chapel, Yale University, New Haven, CT. It was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His works have been performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and by numerous orchestras and ensembles around the United States, Canada, and Europe. They have also been presented on National Public Radio, WQXR, WBAI and on New England Public Radio.
His most recent recording is a CD released in 2000 by Klavier, “Magnetic Rags”, featuring the Avatar Brass Quintet. Much of Mr. Ryden’s career has been in broadcasting where his credits include songs for Public Television’s Electric Company, and the use of his “Rejoice and Be Merry (A Ragtime Christmas Carol)” as a Christmas theme for the CBS Radio Network.
Since 1982 he has been awarded 25 grants from the Meet-The-Composer Foundation, and an ASCAP Special Award. Many of his compositions have been published by Warner Bros., E.F. Kalmus, International Music Company, Bourne Co., Masters Music Publications, Inc., and Manhattan Beach Music. He is a member of ASCAP.
Today, in addition to his work as composer, arranger, conductor and performer, he is the editorial director for Bourne Co./International Music Company.