Student Profile

Ryan Suleiman

Photo by Sakurako Kanemitsu.

A Sacramento native, Ryan Suleiman was born to Lebanese and American parents. His music aims to explore new worlds both sonically and expressively, incorporating “impressionistic textures and large melodic gestures” (SF Classical Voice), resonant sonorities, and lively rhythms. Ryan is deeply inspired by the wonder of the natural world and the tremendous beauty and complexity of everyday life. Though his interests vary, he hopes to encourage his listeners to preserve and appreciate the environment amid the deepening crisis of climate change. He is also inspired by the music of Olivier Messiaen, Toru Takemitsu, and St. Vincent.

Ryan was a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and has received two first prizes and an honorable mention from the Festival of New American Music (FeNAM) Student Composers Competition. He has worked on commissions and collaborations with numerous performers, including Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Calder Quartet, Ensemble Mise-En, Citywater, the Sacramento State Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Camerata Capistrano, and the Davis High Symphony Orchestra, among many others. He has also participated in several festivals, including June in Buffalo, HighSCORE Festival (Northern Italy), and the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium. His piano cycle Under Moonlight was recorded by Jai Jeffryes in his solo album, Amethyst.

Suleiman graduated with a B.M. from Sacramento State and is currently a Ph.D. student in Composition/Theory at University of California, Davis, where he received a Provost Fellowship. His teachers include Stephen Blumberg, Leo Eylar, Kurt Rohde, Mika Pelo, and Ross Bauer. Ryan resides in Sacramento with his wife and musical collaborator, Sakurako, and their two cats, teaching piano and composition lessons. He enjoys long walks, good food, and the films of Hayao Miyazaki. More at    


Montréal Contemporary Music Lab (LMCML) – Montreal, August 2017

Pacific Northwest Graduate Music Conference (presented on Takemitsu and Messiaen) – Seattle WA, February 2017

June in Buffalo – Buffalo, June 2016


Performances of Music in the last year

Echoes for piano, Maria Kouznetsova – LMCML, Montreal, August 2017

Shine, Perishing Republic for flute and clarinet, Christine Richers and True Randall (commissioned by Laura Schwartz) – Davis CA, July 2017

Three Solar Essences, for Ensemble Mise-en – Davis CA, May 2017

Heartstrings, music for dancers and piano quartet - Hawkins School of Performing Arts – Folsom CA, May 2017

The Floating Island II, for piano, Sakurako Kanemitsu - Masters Recital, Sacramento CA, April 2017

Saltscape, for Citywater – Festival of New American Music, Sacramento CA, November 2016

Under Moonlight, for piano, Jai Jeffryes – solo recital, Tempe AZ, October 2016

Flying, for marimba, for Tyler Tskunekawa – solo recital, September 2016 

Up Close and from a Distance, Uusinta Ensemble – June in Buffalo, Buffalo NY, 2016

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