VanPort Jazz

Big Band Jazz

Ryan Seay - trombone

Ryan Retouch 2.jpg

I picked up an old dented up trombone from my grandfather's garage when I was 11 years old and by the time I was 12, I knew I wanted to spend my life playing in a symphony orchestra. That was 20 years ago now, and the trombone and I have had a deep and complex and rewarding journey together in that time. I had the great fortune to attend my dream school, the legendary Curtis Institute of Music, for my performance degree from 2007-2011. In that time, I studied with Nitzan Haroz, principal trombone of the Philadelphia Orchestra (later the Principal trombone of the LA Philharmonic), and I achieved that 12 year old's dream by sitting in the talented and passionate Curtis Symphony Orchestra for four great years, performing incredible works under the baton of many of the world's top conductors including Simon Rattle, Robert Spano, Christoph Eschenbach, Charles Dutoit, Maren Alsop, and many many more. In 2009 I went on a 2-month nationwide tour with a select group of Curtis students and represented the music school in a series of chamber music performances which I'll never forget.


In 2008 I attended the Spoleto festival in Charleston, SC and played principal trombone in a cirque-theater-musical production of "Monkey: A Journey to the West" with members of the Gorillaz band, then after that festival flew to Taipei City, Taiwan to perform and teach as faculty member of the Asia Trombone Seminar alongside members of the Seattle Symphony and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. In 2006, fresh out of high school, I was even called last-minute to sub with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and perform alongside my high-school trombone mentor, Paul Naslund. 


Jumping ahead a few years from there, during my last year at Curtis I began producing and composing electronic music with my roommate and best friend, and I became so enamored by that mode of expression that it became my primary pursuit for nearly 8 years. In 2018 I moved to Portland and began reconnecting with my trombone practice in a more deep and consistent way than I had since my time at Curtis, and have discovered (or rediscovered) a love for playing trombone every day, and pursuing mastery as a practice. I now teach and freelance in the Portland area, and am happy to be called a member of the Vanport Jazz.