Hailing from Cardross, Ryan started playing the fiddle at the age of nine and from that moment decided that he wanted to be a professional musician. Ryan has been attending the RSAMD (Youthworks) programme, for which he was awarded a scholarship.
Ryan has twice won the Lomond Folk Festival Young Traditional Musician title. In 2006 he was a finalist in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Musician competition and in early 2007 was winner of the Danny Kyle Open Stage competition at Celtic Connections. While still 16 years old, Ryan successfully auditioned for the RSAMD degree course in traditional Scottish music. The place is being held open for him until he is 17.
Ryan plays with a musicality, sensitivity and maturity that belie his young age. He is also very inventive and imaginative in his tune arrangements, and regularly comes up with new and exciting ideas. Ryan is also a fine composer, again producing tunes that are musical, unusual and youthful. His fellow students are always keen to learn his compositions, which is a sure sign that they are good.
Ryan’s tutors have no doubt that he has the potential to be a hugely successful professional traditional Scottish musician. The only thing holding him back is a good quality instrument to match his prodigious talent.
How the Award Helped
The Dewar Arts Award will help him buy a good-quality professional fiddle.
Since the Award
Ryan writes that he spent a long time searching for the right fiddle, and eventually found what he considers to be his 'dream instrument' and which he hopes will last him throughout his playing career. He says that "it has a beautiful tone which I am learning to control...it has an enormous dynamic range with a large variety of different sounds and is everything I could possibly hope for in a fiddle .. it has helped me to begin to develop what my fiddle teacher considers to be a unique style of playing..and I feel that I am no longer restricted in achieving my ambitions." Ryan is now studying both Scottish Traditional Music and classical violin at RSAMD.