Ryan Little, principal horn, was born in Burke, Virginia, to a musical family. He currently serves as assistant principal/utility horn of the Britt Music & Arts Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon. Ryan received his Master of Music degree from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in 2017, where he studied with William VerMeulen of the Houston Symphony. In 2015, he received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, where he studied with Gail Williams and Jonathan Boen.
Ryan has performed with the Chicago Arts Orchestra; Civic Orchestra of Chicago; Houston Ballet; Houston Grand Opera; Illinois Symphony Orchestra; and the New World Symphony. He won second prize and the Gretchen Snedeker Prize at the 2013 International Horn Competition of America. In 2014, he was selected as a finalist for the International Horn Society’s Premier Soloist Competition in London, England, and at the Aeolus International Competition for Wind Instruments in Düsseldorf, Germany. As a concert soloist, he has performed with Northwestern University’s Baroque Music Ensemble and Symphonic Wind Ensemble, l’Orchestre de la Francophonie (Montréal) and the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra.
During the summers, he has participated as a fellow in the Castleton Festival; Lucerne Festival Academy; National Orchestral Institute and Festival; l’Orchestre de la Francophonie; Spoleto Festival USA; and Tanglewood Music Center. Ryan performs on an instrument made in 2012 by Karl Hill of Rockford, Michigan.
Name: Ryan Little
Hometown: Herndon, VA
At what age did you begin playing your instrument? 10
Who have been your greatest musical influences? Gail Williams; Bill VerMeulen; Louis-Philippe Marsolais; Jon Boen; Radek Baborák; and Hermann Baumann.
Who are your favorite composers? Beethoven; Brahms; Bruckner; Mahler; Prokofiev; Shostakovich; Strauss; Stravinsky; and Wagner.
What career path would you have taken had you not chosen music? Either a professional baseball player or a history professor.
What’s currently on your iPod? The Beatles; Dropkick Murphys; Eminem; Fort Minor; Linkin Park; Ludacris; Maroon 5; M. Ward; Queen; and Streetlight Manifesto.
Your hobbies and interests: The Boston Red Sox; traveling; exploring new cultures and languages; hiking; sports; reading; and cooking.
Some little-known, yet interesting facts about you: While most children see their first concert during elementary school, I actually attended my first concert 3 days after I was born! My dad was soloing with the U.S. Air Force Band at the Sylvan Theater in Washington, D.C., and we couldn’t miss it!
Funniest concert moment: During a children’s concert a few years ago, I was in a school orchestra performing selections from Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet that included high school actors and a story for the kids to follow along. However, the conductor refused to perform the music in chronological order, so Juliet’s funeral occurred towards the beginning of the concert and later she came back to life — needless to say, the children (and their parents) were very confused!
Daily practice rituals: Josef Schantl: Grand Theoretical and Practical Method for the Valve Horn