A native of Springfield, Virginia, Ryan Adamsons is based in Chicago where his diverse talents and interests have led him to a career encompassing a wide variety of activities in education and the music industry at large.
Ryan was a student of Scott Johnston and Jack Schantz while earning his B.S. degrees in Brass Performance and Jazz Studies from the University of Akron before moving on to DePaul University in Chicago where he earned his M.M. concentrating in Jazz Composition under Thomas Matta. He continues to be an active trumpet player whose performance credits include the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Chicago Composers’ Big Band (founding member), Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble, Rob Parton Big Band, Bob Lark Alumni Big Band, Tom Matta Big Band, Billy Wolfe Composers Octet and Tetradectet, Jazz Community Big Band, Daphne Willis, and his own band the Ryan Erik Adamsons Medium Ensemble. He is a Denis Wick Ambassador and plays Powell Custom trumpets and flugelhorns.
As an educator, Ryan has worked as a clinician and instructor with countless groups across the United States, Canada, and Japan. His jazz groups have performed at Chicago’s Jazz Showcase, Fitzgerald’s, and as part of the ChiTown Jazz Festival to name just a few. In addition, he has worked extensively as a brass instructor in Drum Corps International, most notably with the Bluecoats during their rise to become a perennial contender and with the Santa Clara Vanguard and Vanguard Cadets, including during their Open Class and World Class Championship winning year of 2018. He is known as a passionate and knowledgeable teacher who brings joy to the process of striving for excellence, and whose students maintain a love of music long after they leave the rehearsal room. Ryan is also an accomplished author with several published articles both online and in print, and was a contributing author in The Jazzer’s Cookbook.
As a composer and arranger, Ryan’s prolific nature is matched only by his desire to try new sounds, styles, and ensembles. He writes for everything from solo instruments and brass quintets to mixed-media new art ensembles, and his long time involvement with the marching activity has inevitably led to annual arranging duties with various drum corps and marching bands. In the jazz idiom, he has over fifty commissioned and performed works for jazz ensemble from the professional level to middle school, with his educational works published by Kendor. His own twelve-piece band, the Ryan Erik Adamsons Medium Ensemble, features some of the best musicians in Chicago playing his arrangements and compositions of everything from jazz standards and salsa to funk and avant garde music.
Ryan is also a passionate advocate for music and music education, most notably on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Jazz Orchestra working on their education programs, through his work as the Jazz Area Manager for The Midwest Clinic, and in various roles with the Jazz Education Network including as the Conference Production Coordinator for their annual conference. These efforts have led to Ryan being awarded the 2020 JEN President’s Service Award, and more importantly to greatly enriched opportunities and experiences for countless educators and students.