Many CSU alumni leave the halls of the University Center for the Arts to go on to thriving music careers. Every semester, the UCA invites one of these talented musicians back to campus to perform in the Alumni Concert Series.
This fall, saxophonist Ryan Van Scoyk, a graduate of the class of 2011, returns to the stage on Monday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Organ Recital Hall of the UCA.
Scoyk first became interested in CSU during the four years he spent at CSU’s Summer Music Camp as a high school student, where he met Peter Sommer, who later would become his saxophone professor.
“Camp was a really formative part of my life and my musical journey,” said Scoyk. “I would spend eight or nine hours at camp and still be energized about playing music.”
During the summer before his senior year of high school, Scoyk sat down with his parents to talk through his decision to pursue music in college at CSU.
“Peter Sommer was a big part of my decision to come to CSU,” Scoyk remembered. “He showed me that music was my true passion and, even more importantly, that I could do this.”
During his tenure year at CSU, Scoyk cited the travel opportunities he was a part of as a student, including the Colorado Music Educators Association conference, the North American Saxophone Alliance Conference in New Mexico, a European tour and more, which developed his love of performing.
Of the 2008 European tour to Heidelberg, Germany, with the jazz ensemble, Scoyk remembered, “We felt like rock stars. It was really great to see how passionate these people were about American jazz.”
After graduating with a double major in Music Education and Performance, Scoyk went on to earn his Master’s in Music in saxophone performance in the spring of 2014 at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.
Scoyk now teaches private lessons in Cincinnati and working as a professional recording engineer.
“Recording has been a great way to work through graduate school and it’s been rewarding to help out other musicians,” said Scoyk. “It’s been really cool to watch the artistic process happen on the other end and has made me think about my own, as well.”
Ryan also currently plays in the Promethean Quartet, where much of his musical energy is directed right now. Formed in fall 2012, the group’s debut album, Through Adam’s Fall, was released in 2013, and features Scoyk’s own arrangement of Percy Grainger’s iconic band work Lincolnshire Posy. In 2013 the quartet was selected as a finalist in the Alice Coleman International Chamber Music Competition in Pasadena, CA, and was named one of the top four wind groups at the event. As part of the trip, they performed a 5-state tour of performances and masterclasses. Ryan serves as the quartet’s business manager.
He credits his time at CSU for his success as a musician, planting the seed that has grown into a lifelong pursuit.
His advice to students today: “Take as many performance opportunities as possible – seek them out – no matter what category or genre they fall into,” said Ryan. “Toward the end of my time at CSU, I was playing more funk and rock, and those ended up being some of my favorite performances. While they weren’t necessarily the ‘norm’ for a classically trained musician, they were some of the most rewarding musical experiences I’ve had.”
“Ryan is one of the most talented, dedicated, intelligent and hard-working saxophonists I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with,” said Peter Sommer, director of jazz studies at CSU. “His positive attitude and proactive demeanor were a joy to have in the studio and I’m sure he will continue to be successful in his career and artistry.”
Scoyk returns to CSU
Ryan Scoyk returns to CSU on Nov. 17 as part of the Alumni Concert Series. At this concert, Ryan said we can expect to hear a little bit of everything: new pieces, classical staples, and even some original flare.
“I am so thrilled and honored to be coming back to play at CSU,” he said. “I love playing in the Organ Recital Hall, and I’m excited to perform in front of friends and family again.”
Tickets are available at the UCA Ticket Office and online. Tickets cost $7 for CSU students, $1 for children under 18, and $12 for the general public.