Praised for "superb" performances by The New York Times as well as his ability to "show off the instrument's malleability and freakish extended range as well as its delicacy and refinement" by The Chicago Reader, Ryan Muncy is a saxophonist who performs, commissions, and presents new music. His work emphasizes collaborative relationships with composers and artists of his generation and aims to reimagine the way listeners experience the saxophone through contemporary music. He is a recipient of the Kranichstein Music Prize awarded at the 46th International Summer Courses for New Music Darmstadt, a Fulbright Fellowship in France, the Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists, the Harriet Hale Woolley Fellowship of the Fondation des États-Unis Paris, and has participated in the creation of more than 125 new works for the instrument. His debut solo album Hot was released by New Focus Recordings to critical acclaim, praised as "absorbing" (Alex Ross) and "one of the year's best albums" (Time Out New York). His second solo album, Ism, was released in September 2016 by TUNDRA/New Focus Recordings.
Muncy is the saxophonist of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), a NYC- and Chicago-based collective of 35 leading specialists dedicated to reshaping the way music is created and experienced. During the 2015-16 season, the ensemble presented more than 150 concerts worldwide, including 45 presented through OpenICE, the ensemble’s outpouring of programming which is free and public. In addition to his role as saxophonist, Muncy serves as co-director of the OpenICE program as well as ICE's grants manager.
Muncy has been a soloist at international music festivals including The Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart, the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik Darmstadt (Germany), and at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City) for the U.S. premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Klang, in which the New York Times described his performance of Edentia as a highlight of the entire cycle — "especially memorable... a solitary walker inside a tornado." He performs frequently on major stages for contemporary music, including Wien Modern, Warsaw Autumn, Montréal Nouvelles Musiques International Festival, Ecstatic Music Festival, the Miller Theater's Composer Portrait Series, The Park Avenue Armory, the U.S. Library of Congress, Constellation's Frequency Series, MATA Festival, Curitiba Bienal Musica Agora (Brazil), Liquid Music at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Center, The Stone, and EMPAC at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute, as well as World Saxophone Congresses in Bangkok and Montreal, TV Em Tempo (Brazil) and classical radio stations WQXR (New York), WFMT (Chicago), including Q2’s Meet The Composer podcast hosted by Nadia Sirota. He has recorded for numerous labels including New Amsterdam, New Focus Recordings, Carrier Records, Kairos, Wergo, and TUNDRA.
Muncy performs regularly with Talea Ensemble, Wet Ink Ensemble, and is also a member of The Walden School Players, the ensemble-in-residence of The Walden School, an immersive creative program for young composers and performers held every summer in Dublin, New Hampshire. He has held numerous residencies and conducted arts management workshops at universities and cultural institutions across North America and abroad. During the 2013-14 season, Muncy was a guest curator for the City of Chicago's Loops and Variations concert series at the Chicago Cultural Center and, in September 2014, was a soloist with the Amazonas Philharmonic (Manaus, Brazil) for the second-ever performance of Salvatore Sciarrino's Graffito Sul Mare.
Muncy has built collaborative relationships with many composers whose works he has premiered, including Chaya Czernowin, George Lewis, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Ashley Fure, Marcos Balter, Christian Wolff, Steven Takasugi, Raphaël Cendo, Evan Johnson, Gregory Saunier, Sam Pluta, and Morgan Krauss. His goal of bringing new music to new audiences has led to continental premieres of works by Salvatore Sciarrino, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Georges Aperghis, Beat Furrer, Olga Neuwirth, Mark Andre, Liza Lim, Giorgio Netti, Enno Poppe, Pierluigi Billone, Dai Fujikura, and Hans Thomalla, amongst others.
In 2012, Muncy received the Doctor of Music degree from Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music, where he studied with Frederick L. Hemke. His past teachers include John Sampen (2006 MM, Bowling Green State University), John-Michel Goury (2007 C.O.P., CRR Boulogne-Billancourt, France), Jean-Yves Fourmeau (CNR Cergy-Pontoise, France), George Wolfe (2003 BM, Ball State University), Caroline Hartig, and Ron Jones. A devoted educator and pedagogue, Muncy previously served on Northern Illinois University's School of Music faculty as an instructor of saxophone and music business. He is a Conn-Selmer Artist and performs on Selmer Paris saxophones.
4 November 2016