Visiting artists to perform at Geneseo High School Concert Hall

Claudia Loucks

On Saturday, Feb. 26, visiting artist and accomplished pianist/composer Barron Ryan will team up with his Steinway-sponsored father, Donald Ryan, for a performance by Ryan & Ryan of their “Going Gershwin” program.

Father and son piano-duo Donald and Barron Ryan will be in concert on Saturday, Feb. 26, in the Concert Hall at Geneseo High School. Tickets are available at https://quadcityarts.secure.force.com/ticket/#/instances/aOF3c00001Fq4gLEAR.

The program, in cooperation with the Quad City Arts and their Visiting Artists series, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Concert Hall at Geneseo High School, 700 North State St. General admission tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets are available online at https://quadcityarts.secure.force.com/ticket/#/instances/aOF3c00001Fq4gLEAR.

Quad City Arts is a nonprofit local arts agency dedicated to enriching the quality of life in the Quad City region through the arts.

Information from the Quad City Arts states that Ryan & Ryan is a dynamic father-son piano duo “that draws upon classic and contemporary music to create enthralling concert experiences. From Rachmaninoff to Gershwin to Billy Joel, Donald and Barron Ryan combine their talents to create a dazzling blend of old and new schools.”

A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Donald Ryan came to the United States to study music, earning degrees from Oral Roberts University and the University of Tulsa. He is well-known as a master of diverse styles – evidenced by a diploma from the 9th International Chopin Competition as well as his induction into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. He also earned the distinction of being among the most accomplished pianists in the world as a Steinway Artist.

Given his father’s profession, Barron Ryan’s choice of playing the piano is no surprise, and he has been no stranger to the stage since the age of four.

He distinguished himself in piano studies at the University of Oklahoma and has been a featured soloist at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame and the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, among many other venues. Barron Ryan also has been a prize winner in numerous piano competitions, including the Oklahoma Israel Exchange Young Artists Competition in 2011.

He recently was named by the Smithsonian Magazine as one of the “Ten Innovators to Watch.”

The information received from the Quad City Arts said, “As a performing team, Donald and Barron Ryan amaze audiences with their skill, expressiveness, and love of making music. Their experience in classical, jazz, ragtime and funk allows them to create exciting new music and give fresh interpretations of old. Audiences everywhere have been thrilled by their renditions of selections from Grusin’s ‘The Firm’ soundtrack as well as Rachmanoff’s ‘Second Suite for Two Pianos.’ Their performances of George Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ have always earned a standing ovation.”

The pair also emphasizes education. Each pianist has had extensive experience as a featured performer/speaker in the classroom – from earliest grades through university level – and so the duo understands well how to use music as a motivational tool for students. Their website is https://www.ryanandryanmusic.com/.

Larry Lord, manager of the Geneseo High School Performing Arts Center, and who has been instrumental in working with the Quad City Arts, said, “The first of what I hope will be many concerts in cooperation with the Quad City Arts and their Visiting Artists series is going to be here at our very own concert hall. I’ve excited to have their opportunity for our music lovers from the whole Quad Cities area come see our beautiful concert hall, and hear the Father and Son piano duo of Barron and Donald Ryan performing their ‘Going Gershwin’ concert on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. Who doesn’t love Gershwin?”

“We’ve been having school concerts and activities in the concert hall since late 2017, and students, parents, grandparents all know what a beautiful place this is,” Lord said. “School concert will continue to be an important part of what we’re here for, at the same time we hope to have more concerts like the Visiting Artists so that more people can see our gem of a concert hall, and heard a world class concert.”