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20 UNDER 20: Ryan Esau
Music has always been a driving force for Ryan Esau, but it wasn’t until recently that he decided to pursue it as a career.
Ryan grew up in a musical family and currently plays in the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra where he can express his love of music with some of the best musicians in the province.
Ryan is one of only four flute players in the senior division of the VYSO, B.C.’s premier orchestral program. According to Ryan, the VYSO demands absolute professionalism from its students.
“We are expected to know our music and we rehearse professional-level pieces at full tempo,” he says.
The auditions for the orchestra are very competitive, requiring aspiring musicians to demonstrate advanced musicianship, instrumental ability, and theoretical knowledge. However, according to Ryan, “it’s not really about the audition.” Potential musicians are also judged on their orchestral experience.
Thankfully, Ryan developed his musical prowess playing with the Delta Youth Orchestra and studying privately with Vancouver Opera Orchestra member Betty McBurney.
On average, Ryan attends three-hour rehearsals anywhere from three to five times per week, in addition to the three hours a day he spends practicing and the additional time he spends studying music history and reviewing music theory, even though he never intended to play music professionally.
“Becoming a professional musician wasn’t something I was considering,” he says. “My intention always was to become a teacher.”
However, through his experience playing in band and pit orchestra in high school, Ryan discovered how deep his passion for music really is.
“Music is very important to me,” he says. “It is a vehicle for expression, and a way to communicate. Playing becomes a way to release a variety of emotions . . . I often think of music as something I breathe.
“It goes deep inside, and then it is released and shared with others.”
Ryan was recently accepted into the University of BBC School of Music and will be auditioning to enter the UBC Orchestra in the fall to continue working towards his new dream of becoming a professional flutist.