Ryan, the second trombone in the CPO, came to the instrument by chance. He was a trumpeter, grounded in the Moravian Church in Bellville from the age of 13, and three years later when to study at the Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre. There it was decided that he should transfer to the trombone and he knew then that this would be his future – he would be a professional trombonist.

Ryan then went to study music at UCT and there he soon realized that he would need to get much more experience if he was to play in more than the wind band and the Big Band – he wanted to play in the symphony orchestra. Encouraged by friends who saw how important the experience was obtained in the CPYO, he signed on in 2008 and for the next couple of years. His confidence and his proficiency boosted thanks to the CPYO, he was soon accepted into the UCT Symphony Orchestra.

At the beginning of 2011, the CPO was invited to tour America and Ryan was invited to go along – there was a vacancy in the trombones and he filled it, first on tour and then he auditioned and won the position.

“Without the CPYO, I would not be here,” he says. “I developed a love of concerts, going far more regularly to hear the professional orchestra and learned how a good professional brass section really sounds. When I was in the CPYO, I would always ask the professional musicians for advice, and I am happy to do the same for my young colleagues in today’s youth orchestra and wind ensemble.”

Ryan graduated from UCT with a B Mus, and credits Willy Haubrich, formerly principal trombone of the CTSO and now head of brass at UCT, CPO principal trombone Slava Mrazik, and Sean Kierman, with his accomplishments, all of whom gave him lessons. He also had master classes with Weston Sprott, assistant trombone in the Metropolitan Orchestra in New York, and Jürgen van Rijn, principal of the Concertgebouw Orchestra on its tour here a couple of years ago. He attended the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival twice, both times courtesy of bursaries from the CPO, and played in the SA National Youth Orchestra.

With the tight schedules the orchestra maintains, there’s not much time for private work but he does go the off freelance gig and last year went with the Miagi Orchestra to play in Berlin and Amsterdam.

About the CPYO he has this to say: “Playing in that orchestra was inspirational and aspirational. What I learned was priceless. I was inspired to work hard, and I knew that I could be a professional musician and how to get there. I played great music and had the privilege to work with many different conductors.”

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