Ryan previously was creative director of a newly founded education and cultural exchange company with operations based primarily in China. He developed and composed 5 piano education books, each covering the first 5 Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) exams, alongside numerous sets of technical exercises, concert music, sight-reading exercises, the backbone of the schools teaching material.
Over the last 3 years Ryan has developed a programme of group lessons, each tendered to different levels of ability and learning outcomes as well as specifically designed courses for individuals on occasion. These range from lessons for primarily beginners aged from 5 to 8, music appreciation for 9 to 12 years olds, grade 5 theory lessons for students aged 13 to 16 and more tailored programmes for adult students. These bespoke programmes have included jazz improvisation, composition and music technology.
Ryan has helped organise a range of collaborations and events to attract new students from other centres and promote the school, these include concerts, coffee mornings, collaborations with other organisations.
Since 2018 Ryan has been working on Down the Rabbit Hole, a series of videos diving deep into the strange parts of the internet as well as confounding and absurd elements of history. Such a unique show needs a unique soundtrack. To date 37 songs have been made for the show. Due to the unique themes explored, the soundtrack is diverse and evokes various emotions.
A collaboration between Ryan and Fredrik Knudsen to create an EP of electronic and Hurdy-Gurdy music. Composed using Knudsen’s improvisations were turned into five experimental electronic pieces. The album cover features a photograph taken by Ryan’s father of Symonds Yat Rock taken with a homemade camera.
Since the beginning of 2020 Ryan has worked with Atrocity Guide producing original music for her documentaries. Blending electric piano, and electronic sounds, Ryan produces a dark evocative soundtrack befitting of a series exploring the blur between reality and fiction.
Since 2017 Ryan has been regularly comissioned by OSW Review (Old School Wrestling Video Podcast), providing reworkings of their theme music, Calvin Harris's Acceptable in the 80s. These range from versions that parody video games like Cuphead and Final Fantasy VI, to versions for their awards cermonies. And even a version parodying Philip Glass's Pruit Igoe from Koyaanisqatsi.
As part of his New Year lecture Ryan announced a new opera, a collaboration with composer and friend Luke Deane. The opera’s world will be created in video game design engine Unity, with the duo exploring the opportunities the medium presents. In January 2020 a trailer for the opera was released.
A piano duo which started as a collaboration with acclaimed Chinese artist, Han Beishi, on a painting, poetry and music project, Beywa Music. The duo consists of Ryan and pianist Wei-Han Chen. Alongside Beywa Music the duos repertoire includes music by Howard Skempton, Alvin Curran, Luke Deane and Errollyn Wallen.
Twilight City was commissioned by the Nationaal Jeugd Orkest as the reward for winning the NJO Prijs at the 2017 Young Composers Meeting. The commission was for the Helikon Kwartet, a group of relatively young musicians and would be part of a programme of music drawing attention to climate change, consisting of compositions by Vasks and Shostakovich. The title comes from the appearance of the sky in Beijing, where pollution, dust from construction and desert sand block out the sun creating the impression of eternal twilight.
The composition is strictly structured, consisting of 25 movements with carefully controlled durations. The commission was for a 10-12 minute piece of music; I took the greater value and carefully divided this into 25 sections. The 2 middle movements are the longest (exactly 2 minutes and 30 seconds by the score), with each section radiating out from the middle halving in duration. At the beginning and at the end, the composition consists of sections that are only fractions of a second long. Towards the end of the composition, the music increasingly reflects the symmetrical structure of the composition, referencing the structure of a day by returning to twilight. Each movement can be viewed as an abstract and dislocated part of the Beijing landscape, concrete, glass, people etc.
The decision to include all players’ voices was inspired by the group’s all-female line-up, as they could all sing in unison.
The composition toured the Gelderland as part of the 2018 NJO Festival.
A 2011 trip to Japan had a profound impact on me. One of the overwhelming emotions I felt upon returning to the UK, can only be described as Saudade, a Portuguese word meaning a deep emotional state of melancholic longing for a person or thing that is absent.
I knew I may never see Japan again, and may never meet the friends I made again. The catalyst to make the compositions was when one of these friends sent me a set of Hokusai’s prints. I found them irresistible and started making the pieces, with each movement dedicated to a friend I had made in Japan, and through Hokusai perhaps Japan itself.
A CD was published with the support of the Sasakawa Foundation and Japan Society of London. The composition have performed in the British Museum, live on BBC Radio and numerous other venues more than 100 times.
10 minutes explores composer’s and musician’s views and experiences, in a bite-size format just 10 minutes, unedited and unrehearsed. Generally interviewed over the phone, the show features so of the most important and influential composers in the UK.
'What is a Composer?' is a podcast series presented by composer Patrick Ellis which asks questions to fifteen composers on different topics, released April 30, 2017.
Ryan appears alongside fellow composers Howard Skempton, Maya Verlaak, Paul Norman, Michael Wolters, Kirsty Devaney, Andy Ingamells, Robert Blatt, Josh Herring, Richard Stenton, Ragnar Árni Ólafsson, Bobbie Jane Gardner, Andrew Hamilton, Neele Hülcker and Joe Cutler.
Duygu Ince (violin) and Berxwedan Koçkaya (guitar) began performing together during their studies at Birmingham Conservatoire and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and have since shared with audiences the engaging repertoire for this unique combination of instruments. The Opari Duo came across a trailer for a film called Albatross by Chris Jordan. It depicted the devastation that plastic waste brought on the oceans and aquatic life, and the Duo were immensely moved by it. After discussing these issues with, Ryan, For Our Oceans was born.
‘A writer friend of mine once wrote to me about how he had become preoccupied with the sea. He had stayed in a hotel uncomfortably close to a beach, and recalled how the power of the sea had begun to frighten him: "The small dirt cliff on which the building perched looked tenuous and fragile from the beach, and with each large wave I would consider what it could do if only it crashed against the soil; it would be eaten away in a matter of days, maybe hours, and I would imagine the building crashing down into the waves once enough of it was without a base.” The sea will forever be more immense, more unfathomable, more powerful than any human comprehension. My grandfather sailed the seas, he too knew this, he visited all but four nations of the world, knew that it could drag him down at any moment and even saw an exploding ammunition ship wipe Halifax from the map. People will never destroy the sea, but we will lose so much. We will ruin the bounty it brings us, it will raise up and swallow our homes. The greatest trove of life in the known universe, with all its diversity, is being poisoned as I write.’ Ryan Probert
The Blood and Sand was premiered as part of For Our Oceans at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama on 11th July 2019.
In 2017 Ryan attended the International Young Composer’s Meeting in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, composing Five Broken Pieces for Orkest de Ereprijs. The composition won one of the top two prizes, the NJO (Nationaal Jeugd Orkest) Prize and resulted in the commission of Twilight City for the Helikon Kwartet.
The composition was later performed at the Gaudeamus Muziekweek, with musicologist Jan Nieuwenhuis writing that the composition “…dramatizes the customary properties of certain genres and styles and magnifies them ad absurdum.”
The compositions could be considered broken in two ways, first the short durations implying fragments and second the perverse and distorted take on the forms and styles cited in the title.
Ben Taffijn reviewing the composition performed as part of Best of the Composers Meeting concert at the Gaudeamus Muziekweek, described the piece as “…the most surprising.”, of the concert.
A series of interesting and informative lecture that answer some questions as practical as, how to keep a large-scale project on track? How to find collaborators? How do I even start out in the arts world? Some topics more bizarre and profound. What is the lowest sound in the universe? What would music sound like in alternate dimension? All delivered through a unique mix of performance, magic, scientific experiments and theatre. Created with the help of colleagues at the top of a wide range of fields to create a truly unusual series events.
Des is a composition for solo harp, written as part of the Future Blend Project. The composition was premiered by harpist Rita Schindler.
Des was dedicated to Desmond Thurgood, who died in 2016 at the age of 90. When delivering the news that he had a terminal illness, he reflected that he had “a good innings”.
The Bears, retells and reinvents one of the Forest of Dean’s most infamous pieces of folklore. With Ryan’s music, the story takes the form of a fairytale - with quotations from historic nursery rhymes, folk tunes, and poetry, and rich orchestrations characteristic of his unique style.
The original macabre story will be transformed into an otherworldly narrative with elements of magic realism.
A short stream series in which Fredrik Knudsen of Down the Rabbit Hole makes tea, answers questions about his work, and brings on guests once a day for a week.
Ryan appeared in the 3rd episode discussing making music for Down the Rabbit Hole, working with Fredrik and the story of the death teapot.