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Tony Ryan


Born: 1951


Tony Ryan was born in Timaru and graduated from the University of Canterbury with a MusB (Hons) in composition. After qualifying as a teacher he led Music and Drama at Heretaunga College and, from 1979 to 2012 was Head of Music at Linwood College, culminating in the hugely successful Linwood College Orchestra tour of Europe and the UK. He now lives in Kenya where he has served as Head of Arts at the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa.

Tony has been a much sought-after composer, conductor, pianist, lecturer and reviewer. Conducting engagements have included assignments for many companies including the Christchurch Symphony, Court Theatre, Canterbury Opera, NASDA and others. His many compositions include musical theatre works for schools, scores for professional theatre productions, particularly for Court Theatre, (Much Ado about Nothing, The Merchant of Venice, Alice!), song cycles, chamber works and orchestral pieces such as Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Orchestra and HAKA!, which has received many performances in New Zealand, Australia and the USA. The acclaimed season of his opera The Musicians of Bremen in 1996 remains one of the highlights of his career. His works also include a piece for the Christchurch Symphony to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of John Ritchie, and The Linwood March which has become a popular annual feature of Linwood College events and ceremonies. Lectures for University Continuing Education courses have also been another call on his talents.

Tony has composed prolifically since his student days when early performances brought him critical recognition in the press as “the most gifted and fluent” of a new generation of composers. He has been the Christchurch reviewer for Radio New Zealand Concert’s Upbeat, and has also reviewed for Theatreview.

The most gifted and fluent of a new generation of composers - Christchurch Press 1975

Composed (23)

A Carillon for Christmas

for four unaccompanied solo voices, 12m

Concert Champetre

for voice and piano, 12m


for soprano saxophone and orchestra

Concerto for tuba and orchestra

for tuba and orchestra, 20m

Cris de Coeur

for two female voices with piano, 12m

Deck the Halls

for voices and orchestra, 3m

Fantastic Waltz

for full orchestra, 6m

From a Garden in the Antipodes

for voice and piano, 10m


for orchestra, 7m

Mary Ursula Bethell

for SAB choir and piano, 3m

Mary Ursula Bethell

for three solo voices, 3m


a song cycle for voice and piano, 12m

Red Sky in the Morning

for voice, french horn and piano, 22m


for full orchestra, 1h 20m

Scherzo 1994

for saxophone quartet

Six Michael Songs

for voice and piano, 15m

Songs of the Moon

for voice and piano, 23m

String Quartet

for string quartet, 37m

The Musicians of Bremen

comic opera in one act, 1h

The Tempest

for full orchestra, 1h 30m

Vivat! Vivat Regina!

for large chamber ensemble, 10m

Recordings (1)

Resources (2)