WILLIAM RYDEN

Obituary
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RYDEN--William. Composer, arranger, and editor, William Ryden, whose "Concerto in Ragtime" was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, died on January 21, 2018. Bill was born in New York City on December 19, 1939. He was a lifelong resident of Forest Hills where he was raised with his twin brother John and younger sister Katherine. He studied at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago and the Mannes College of Music in New York, and was a student of the Hungarian maestro Tibor Serly, a disciple of Bela Bartok. He served in the Army in Korea, worked in television production at ABC and NBC, and spent 35 years as classical music publisher and editorial director at Bourne Company and International Music Company. In addition to his 150 published arrangements, Bill wrote more than 500 original rags for piano. His orchestral compositions include "Kaleidoscope" for percussion and orchestra, concertos for trumpet, clarinet, horn, and piccolo, rhapsody for violin, and "Through the Looking-Glass" for vocal soloists and orchestra, all performed by James Sinclair and Orchestra New England. His quintet for oboe and strings was performed by the Con Brio Ensemble at Carnegie Hall in 1983. In 1996 the Mirror Visions Ensemble performed his "Three Alice Songs" at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, and later, along with his "The Owl and the Pussycat" at New York's Town Hall, and in London and Paris. In 2004 and 2007 the American Chamber Trio played programs of his rags at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall. The Gingerbread Players performed his musicals "Ragtag! Or the Mayor's New Suit" in 1987, and "Through the Looking-Glass" in 1989, "The Sleeping Beauty" in 2007, "Nowell! The Christmas Story in Song" in 2014, and the revue "Over There" in 2017. His works have been performed by numerous orchestras and ensembles around the United States, Canada, and Europe. His credits also include songs for Public Television's Electric Company, and "Rejoice and be Merry (A Ragtime Christmas Carol)" which was used as a Christmas theme for the CBS Radio Network. The CD "Glad Rags & Sad Rags" was recorded by Canadian pianist John Arpin, who was the soloist at the premiere of his "Ragtime Concerto," and in 2007 the American Chamber Trio recorded the CD "Rags, Spells and Tangos." Bill was a gift to his family and friends and his music was a gift to the world. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Gingerbread Players at St. Luke's Church in Forest Hills, NY or the . A celebration of Bill's life will be held on Sunday, February 18 at 3pm at The Church in the Gardens Community House in Forest Hills, NY.



Published in The New York Times on Jan. 29, 2018
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