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Tony Ryan


Born: 1951


Since returning to New Zealand after several years living in Mombasa (Kenya) and Singapore, Tony Ryan has resumed a very busy music schedule as a composer, conductor and reviewer.

Born in Timaru, Tony graduated from the University of Canterbury with a MusB (Hons) in composition. After qualifying as a teacher, he briefly led Music and Drama at Heretaunga College before his thirty-three years as Head of Music at Linwood College, culminating in the hugely successful Linwood College Orchestra’s Phoenix Tour of Europe and the UK in 2011 which included an ANZAC Day performance at Westminster Abbey.

Tony has been a sought-after composer, conductor, pianist, speaker and reviewer. Past 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 his three spectacular orchestral Hakas, the first of which has received several 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, as was the premiere of his first String Quartet which has been played by several groups including just a single movement by the New Zealand String Quartet. His commissions also include a work for the Christchurch Symphony in 2012 to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of John Ritchie, and his Linwood March has become a popular annual feature of Linwood College events and ceremonies. Presentations for University of Canterbury Continuing Education and U3A along with guest conducting, adjudicating and Creative NZ Assessment Panels have also been occasional aspects of his music work.

His busy current conducting schedule is dominated by several concerts per year with Christchurch’s Resonance Ensemble orchestra whose concerts include many orchestral works by New Zealand composers. Tony also conducts the Christchurch School of Music (CSM) senior orchestra, Sinfonia, as well as the Schools Music Festival Symphony Orchestra.

Tony has composed prolifically since his student days when early performances brought him critical recognition in a review in The Press as “the most gifted and fluent” of a new generation of composers.

For further information visit his website or the Resonance Ensemble Website. For samples of his composition and conducting work, visit his Soundcloud and YouTube channels.

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)

Performances (1)

Resonance Ensemble | A Tuba Comes to Town

After two previous attempts to bring a star Tuba player from Australia – Third Time Lucky! Tho...