musicians from across europe – music without borders


ryan linham

Ryan Linham began studying music at the age of 6, starting with the piano and a short time after taking up trumpet and percussion. At the Havering Music School, Essex Music Services and The Royal Academy of Music Junior Department he studied with Matthew Dickenson and Tim Hawes. He has recently graduated as a Foundation Scholar at the Royal College of Music, studying trumpet under Alistair Mackie (Philharmonia Orchestra) Alan Thomas (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra) and Mike Lovatt.


Ryan won the Havering Young Musician of the year 2010, and lead the Junior Royal Academy Brass Quintet to win the Dame Ruth Railton Chamber Music prize. In 2012, Ryan won the RCM Brass Concerto competition playing the Peter Maxwell Davies trumpet concerto, and year after won the RCM Brass Solo Prize. With Kensington Brass they have won RCM Brass Ensemble Competition in both 2012 and 2013 and reached the final of the Royal Overseas League Competition. Ryan has played lead trumpet in both the Conservatoire UK Big Band 2011 and RCM Big Band, including performances in the London Jazz festival. Notable Jazz names Ryan has played with include Michael Garrick, Gareth Lochrane, Martin Hathaway and Alan Jackson.


Ryan has recently been appointed the Trumpet position in the New European Ensemble, and is currently on trial for the position of Principal Trumpet with the City of Birminham Symphony Orchestra. Professionally, Ryan has played with the Philharmonia Orchestra, English National Opera, London Sinfonietta and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. At the RCM, performances have included Eine Alpensinfonie and Bruckner 8 under Bernard Haitink and Mahler 5 under Lorin Maazel. In Summer 2012, he held the principle trumpet seat with the Aldeburgh World Orchestra, performing at the BBC proms and Concertgebouw Amsterdam under Sir Mark Elder.


As a soloist Ryan has performed the Haydn Trumpet concerto with both the Havering Concert Orchestra and Redbourne Upper Orchestra, the Vivaldi Double-Trumpet concerto with the European Vacation Chamber Orchestra, and the Peter Maxwell Davies Trumpet Concerto with the RCM New Perspectives orchestra.


Ryan’s other interests include musical theatre, having played trumpet in, acted in, and been musical director totalling over 20 shows. He is also a British Ballet Organisation qualified tap dancer.


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listen & watch

Peter Maxwell Davies:
Trumpet Concerto

ryan’s non classical top 4

questions & amswers

Which piece got you interested in new music?

As a young student, I studied percussion as a second instrument and through that I found myself playing many contemporary works, especially minimalist pieces by Reich and Glass. Then in my degree I did a module in learning about Music from 1906 till today, studying all aspects of the last 100 years. Although I didn’t always enjoy the music aesthetically, I really got to appreciate the processes and theories behind the compositions, for example John Cage’s indeterminacy and Xenakis’ architectural background. I would have to say however, that it was my teacher at the Royal College of Music who got me involved in contemporary music in the biggest way. He is the trumpet player in London Sinfonietta, and during my study suggested that I learn the Peter Maxwell-Davies Trumpet Concerto – a mammoth piece. I was lucky enough to win the Concerto Competition at the RCM which meant I then got to play it with the Orchestra. It was such an enjoyable experience over the months I spent preparing it. It was the challenges in the music which appealed to me not just as a musician, but also as a player. This enjoyment is why I continue to strive toward new music.


What makes playing new music in the New European Ensemble satisfying and worthwhile?

In an ensemble like this one, there are fewer members so I think first of all you bond socially really well. Also, due to the challenges in the music, everyone is working at their absolute best for the majority of the time. So concentration levels during rehearsals are really high, which mean the time out of rehearsals is much more relaxed. But also, no matter how difficult the music, morale is high because everyone has something really special to contribute, and is consistently stretching their own limits, whether technically, mentally or in terms of stamina. This level of intense prolonged concentration is not usual for most orchestral (especially brass!) players. The sense of reward and achievement you get from a project of that intensity is far greater.


which non-classical music do you like?

1. Frank Sinatra: Around the World. Frank Sinatra, despite being an obvious choice for many, has to be one of my all-time favourite musicians. The way he phrases a melody is impeccable, his ability to stretch the time and then create something that swings so hard is an inspirational freedom for anyone who plays any form of solo. This track is one of the most beautiful songs on his album Come fly with me.

2. Ray Charles and Count Basie: Oh What a Beautiful Morning. I’m also a huge fan of the art form of song-writing and arranging. My upbringing of hearing the great musicals, my first being Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, stays with me to this day. This Ray Charles track here not only is really exciting in his amazing performance with one of my favourite big bands, but it’s such a great reinterpretation of this song, which is why for me it is really special.

3. Arturo Sandoval: Caprichosos De La Habana. Arturo Sandoval has to be one of my favourite trumpet players, for his sheer sound, power and dexterity in a style I know that I will never get anywhere near! Latin grooves and Cu-Bop language all add to a frenzied mix, and then he suddenly leans back and plays the most spectacular melody. This track is a fantastic example of the groove and his amazing prowess. His music always inspired me when I was a young student learning to play in big bands.
4. The Muppets: We’re Doing a Sequel (from the Muppets most wanted). The Muppets are a great institution and their most recent film was almost a musical, as it had so many great songs in it. I love the mix of music and harmless comedy, and there is just something about the grooves and feelings they create which makes it the ultimate feel-good music. Plus it fulfils my love of great song-writing and arranging. Other soundtracks like this I sometimes listen too are The Producers, Avenue Q, Sugar etc.

5. ––––– I’ve left my fifth Song blank, as I really do listen to a lot of Classical music. Mostly at the moment it’s Brass music and arrangements, as I run and arrange for my own Brass Quintet and Dectet. I love the All Star Brass from Canada, Mnozil Brass from Austria, Onyx Brass from London, and I’m basically always searching for that new sound or style that we can use in our concerts, or that I can try and emulate as a Brass composer/arranger, as we have such a poor repertoire in our section.

New European Ensemble is supported by Fonds Podiumkunsten (from 2017) and the city of The Hague