Ryan Little, Principal Horn
Nancy and Lanny* Baird Chair
Ryan Little was born in Burke, Virginia, to a musical family. He began studying piano at age 3 before switching to viola, then to the trumpet and finally to the horn at age 10. 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, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, The Florida Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony, 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 the Naples Philharmonic, 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 performed at the Britt Music & Arts Festival and the Sun Valley Music Festival. He also participated as a fellow in the Castleton Festival, Lucerne Festival Academy, National Orchestral Institute and Festival, l’Orchestre de la Francophonie, Spoleto Festival USA, Tanglewood Music Center and YOA Orchestra of the Americas. Ryan performs on an instrument made in 2012 by Karl Hill of Rockford, Michigan.
I was born and raised in Northern Virginia and studied at Northwestern University and Rice University. I became a member of the Naples Philharmonic in September 2017.
What has been your most memorable moment with the orchestra?
My most memorable moment with the orchestra was definitely performing Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 with former Music Director Andrey Boreyko. This piece is a favorite for all hornists, and I remember the energy on stage being absolutely electric. That week was one I’ll never forget!
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
The most enjoyable part of my job here in Naples is getting to work with the best colleagues in the world. The musicians here are a special group of people, and I feel so lucky to collaborate and make music with them every day!
What are your favorite compositions?
Too many! I adore the music of Brahms, Bruckner, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Strauss, Stravinsky and Wagner, but I think Mahler’s Second, Third and Ninth symphonies are the works I treasure the most.
What have you been listening to recently?
I keep a pretty consistent playlist of Eminem, Fort Minor, Ludacris, M. Ward and Regina Spektor with me at all times.
Are there other musicians in your immediate family?
Yes! Both my parents were clarinetists in the United States Air Force Concert Band.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love traveling to new places, cooking, hiking, reading, basketball and enjoying our beautiful beaches here in Naples!