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Ryan Ebright

About this Artist

My name is Ryan Ebright, and I am an Assistant Professor of Musicology at Bowling Green State University. I completed my Ph.D. in musicology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2014, and I also hold degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University (M.M. Musicology and Vocal Performance, 2006) and Westmont College (B.A. Music and Economics-Business, summa cum laude, 2003). I have worked as a lecturer in musicology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and as a member of the musicology and voice faculties at UNC-Chapel Hill. At BGSU I lead graduate and undergraduate courses on opera, chamber music, symphonic music, music appreciation, and twentieth- and twenty-first-century music.

My research focuses on opera, song, and the intersections of music and drama, with an emphasis on twentieth-century and contemporary opera, minimalism, and 19th-century Lieder. With my current focus on American opera, I approach the diverse repertoires, artistic communities, and audiences of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries with an ear toward expressions of American identity. My book project (in progress), Making American Opera after Einstein, centers on the negotiation of cultural politics, artistic innovation, and the politics of institution and genre in the creation of new American operas from the 1980s to the present. I present both the visual and sonic as negotiations of these internal and external factors, in case studies ranging from Philip Glass’s Satyagraha to Missy Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar.

This project builds on my dissertation, "Echoes of the Avant-garde in American Minimalist Opera," which interfaced musical and dramaturgical analyses and previously unexamined archival sources with interviews I conducted with designers, directors, librettists, impresarios, and conductors such as Peter Sellars, Beryl Korot, Dennis Russell Davies, Robert Israel, Constance DeJong, David Gockley, and Mark Grey. Reading Glass’s Satyagraha, Steve Reich’s The Cave, and John Adams’s Doctor Atomic through the lens of experimental theater and art, I argued that the emergence and continuation of American minimalist opera is deeply indebted to mid-century avant-garde communities.

My scholarship has appeared in the New York TimesAmerican MusicOxford Bibliographies in MusicNotesNewMusicBox, and the book Rethinking Reich, with an article forthcoming in Cambridge Opera Journal. I present papers regularly at national and international conferences, and I currently serve as the Secretary for the Society for Minimalist Music. In 2019, I will begin serving a three-year term as Editor of the Bulletin​ of the Society for American Music.

In addition to my academic work, I maintain an active career as a performer. I studied voice with John Shirley-Quirk, Steven Rainbolt, Thomas Houser, and M. Grey Brothers.  An experienced ensemble singer, I was a regular member and frequent soloist with the Old St. Paul's Episcopal Church and St. John's in the Village in Baltimore, as well as the Concert Artists of Baltimore. As an advocate for contemporary music, I have sung with the Evolution Contemporary Music Series and premiered operas and song cycles in Baltimore and New York City, including Jefferson and Poe (D. Ferrante), The Mountain and Tidewater Songs (Ferrante), and The Alien Corn (T. Benjamin). As a conductor, I have led multiple vocal ensembles within the UNC-Chapel Hill Collegium Musicum.

I tweet occasionally: @ryan_ebright