At 18, Ryan Howland already has an impressive list of accomplishments. He’s studied under some of the best violinists in the world and published an autobiography about his path to becoming a soloist.
The former Victoria resident is about to tick two more items off his bucket list: performing as a soloist at the Victoria Symphony Splash and completing his music degree in Germany.
Growing up in a musically talented family – his mother taught piano at the Victoria Conservatory of Music; his father, Brad, is principal trombonist with the Victoria Symphony – Howland’s passion for violin began at a young age.
Howland busked in downtown Victoria and had earned enough money at 13 for a trip to Switzerland to study under world-famous Russian violinist, Zakhar Bron. For the past two years he has studied with violinist/conductor Viktor Tretyakov at the International Blackmore Music Academy in Berlin. In that time Howland has played numerous concerts in Europe with his school and as a soloist.
Beginning this fall, he’s taking his studies to the next level, completing his bachelor’s degree at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts, studying under violinist Ulrich Edelmann.
“I’m excited. It’s a big city,” said Howland, who enjoys playing classical pieces by Niccolo Paganini and Johann Sebastian Bach. “[Edelmann] is trying to show me the best way to find my own sense of the music, looking past the technical aspect … He’s trying to show me how much deeper you can go with the music itself.”
Howland anticipates returning to Victoria for the upcoming Symphony Splash and performing at a concert he grew up watching with his parents.
“I’m looking forward to it. I’ve always felt closer to it [the symphony]. Now I finally get to play with them, so it’s even more special,” said Howland, who hasn’t been home since leaving for Germany two years ago.
The 28th annual Symphony Splash, which also includes a performance by eight-year-old Felipe Jiang, the youngest soloist in the event’s history, takes place in Victoria’s Inner Harbour on Sunday, Aug. 6.
Howland is also performing Aug. 11 at the First Metropolitan United Church (932 Balmoral Rd.), in a concert to raise funds for his schooling in Frankfurt. The set includes pieces by Johannes Brahm, Mozart and Bach, with accompaniment by pianist Jannie Burdeti.
The concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for students and can be purchased at Long & McQuade, Ivy’s Bookshop or at the door. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.