Ryan Tomski

Long Bio 

       Ryan Tomski was raised in the small town of Iola, Wisconsin, where he began taking classical piano lessons at age seven.  In Middle School, through his pursuit of the saxophone for school band, he discovered the music of John Coltrane.  By high school he was playing the music of Debussy, composing short pieces, and playing jazz gigs at coffee shops and other venues throughout Central Wisconsin.  

Being from a small town gave Ryan some real advantages heading into college.  By the time he had enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, he had already taught private lessons on saxophone and piano, conducted the local marching band as drum major, traveled to seven countries in Europe while on tour with a 200-piece concert band, and played in jazz, classical, bluegrass, rock, and funk contexts.

In college, Ryan has been successful in several musical arenas.  His performances with university big bands and small groups have afforded him several unique opportunities.  The UWSP Jazz Combo performed at the prestigious Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival in 2010, receiving highest marks from judges including Jeff Clayton, Marion Hayden, and Willie Jones III.  Since that time, the combo has gone beyond the classroom to bring jazz to several schools around the state including Lawrence University, Milwaukee High School of the Arts, and Waupaca Middle School.  In a trio format, Ryan has accompanied tap dancers as a part of Danstage 2011.  He also collaborated with Carol Rakowski and the William Paterson Contemporary Dancers on an original work in 2014 called "Make That Sheet Look Neat."  Ryan conducted the William Paterson Big Band featuring guest artist Steve Nelson in March, 2014 as they premiered his arrangement of Steve's "One Thin Dime."  Aside from performances with large and small ensembles, Ryan continues to perform solo piano works for any occasion, incorporating an array of standards, originals, classical pieces and free improvisations into his sets.

Ryan has also garnered recognition as a rising multi-genre composer, having won the UWSP Composer Competition two years in a row.  In 2010, the UWSP Jazz Ensemble performed his first-place chart, “The Undisputed International Champion of Walking Backwards”, and in 2011 the UWSP Choral Union performed his winning piece “The Apparition”.  Ryan has also written a fanfare for Wind Ensemble, an A cappella SATB choir piece, a four-movement work for string quartet, twelve pieces for beginning piano students, several jazz octet and nonet charts, and several small group jazz works, including musical reactions to poems by Sylvia Plath and Bob Kaufman.  Since studying with Jim McNeely while enrolled at William Paterson University, Ryan has composed several new works for jazz big band and nonet, as well as a mashup of Cole Porter's "So In Love" and Daft Punk's "Instant Crush" he calls "So Instant Crush" that features bassoon, marimba, SATB voices, and jazz quartet.  These works help to comprise a larger series related to the seven deadly sins and Dante's Inferno called "In Some Circles," conceived as a Master's Graduate Arranging Recital capstone project in 2013.

As an educator, Ryan has experience working with youngsters to adults and has had as many as 27 private students under his tutelage at one time.  In the winter of 2011, he commenced work with Very Young Composers, a group dedicated to the discovery and presentation of original music by young people.   Through his efforts, the public witnessed the inherent creativity of fourth and fifth graders in the greater Stevens Point area.  He has transferred his focus of composition, jazz, and classical study into an eclectic educational approach designed to allow students to realize their creative potential while gaining musical knowledge and technical fluidity.  Ryan now also teaches basic music (using Orff/Kodaly/Eurhythmics) to 1st and 2nd graders at the Newark School of the Arts, along with three sections of music theory and jazz lessons to students of all ages.  He teaches Foundations of Music: Remixed as well as Jazz Ensemble at Felician University.  At Brookdale Community College, Ryan teaches Finale I, helping students get acquainted with music notation software and unleash their full potential as music composers and engravers.

        Ryan is a graduate of the jazz program at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point as well as the Graduate Jazz Arranging/Composition program at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ.  He has studied with Jim McNeely, Mulgrew Miller, Cecil Bridgewater and Armen Donelian.  Recently, he graduated with his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where he studied with John "Chip" Stephens.

 Short Bio 

     Ryan Tomski is an award-winning multi-genre composer, instrumentalist, and educator originally from Wisconsin.  He currently co-leads a big band called Big Beat based out of the New York / New Jersey area, and recently completed his Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.  He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Jazz Performance from The University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point and is a graduate of the Jazz Arranging Master's Degree program at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey.  Ryan has penned approximately twenty works for large ensembles including big bands, wind ensembles, choirs, marching bands, pep bands, and more.  He has performed music in eight countries.  

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