Ryan Marvel is an award-winning pianist, composer and arranger from Fort Collins, CO. He began to tinker on the piano at a young age, watching his brother and grandmother play and recreate what he was hearing. Once in lessons, he frustrated his early teachers as reading music seemed like a burden to him. Eventually, he would come to know a teacher who understood individual creativity and taught him the value of reading to enhance arranging and composition.
Ryan began to think about classical piano as a career through his high school years, studying with Patricia Weaver in Durango. Responding to his desire to go to Julliard, his teacher would tell him “Great! Get ready to give everything to the dream…and get ready to give everything else up…like basketball, tennis, skiing…” Ryan reconsidered. He continued to compose and arrange music and attended NAU in Flagstaff on a music scholarship. At the time, it wasn’t a good fit for Ryan so he returned home to focus on composition.
For the next several years, Ryan worked in the restaurant industry. Days off were spent skiing and hiking and camping, and piano became more of a side pursuit. While he found success in the business, he always felt that calling back to music. In April 1999, he took a very part time job as a pianist at a small church in Chandler, AZ. That decision would bring musical fulfillment back into Ryan’s life for good.
In 2005, he released his first solo album, “Left Hand, Right Hand”, a collection of Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Gershwin, some original arrangements and two original works for piano, including the evocative “Rainfall”. In June 2010 he followed with a record of all original material, “Possibilities”. A “musical journey of personal reflection”, the album was nominated twice for Album of the Year honors, by SoloPiano.com and Whisperings Piano Radio, respectively. In November 2013, his first seasonal album, “Winter” was released. A collection of holiday music, the CD also features guest musicians on three tracks, adding flute, cello and didgeridoo. The title track “Winter” is an original composition, reflecting on the stillness and depth of the season. The album was nominated for Album of the Year for a holiday album by SoloPiano.com.
In October 2017, Ryan released his fourth album, “Reflecting Forward”, an all original release. The record is a very personal reflection of cathartic healing and moving through profound challenge. The album won Album of the Year 2017 from both Whisperings Solo Piano Radio and SoloPiano.com, respectively.
Ryan’s newest album is a second seasonal offering, “Winter II”. The collection is comprised of several holiday favorites such as “Ukrainian Bell Carol”, “Still, Still, Still”, and “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”. The album ends with a re-imagined “Ave Maria” for cello and piano. The album has been named 2018 Album of the Year by SoloPianoChristmas.com.
Musical Jobs/Current Happenings
Ryan served as Director of Music and Choirs at Foothills Unitarian Church in Fort Collins,CO from 2006-2017. Prior to moving to the Front Range, he worked as pianist in Chandler, AZ at Valley Unitarian Universalist Church from 1999-2005. Since moving back home, he has performed around the Front Range as a pianist, including as a featured soloist with the Front Range Chamber Players. Ryan recently debuted a set of cello and piano miniatures in January 2019. He frequently concertizes in homes and churches locally and nationally, and is in demand as a guest pianist and conductor. He works as an independent arranger and composer and also maintains a full private piano studio. Current projects include plans for solo albums, composing for cello and piano, arranging and composing for SATB choir and collaborating with songwriters for studio sessions. He has scored for three documentary projects and holds the goal to one day compose for feature films.
In his spare time, he loves to be outdoors at the ocean, or in the mountains hiking, skiing and camping. Passions include family, wolves, nature, red wine, really good coffee and sleeping until 11:00. Ryan’s true love is daughter Elena Rose, affectionately called “Lanie”