Angela Ryu, 19, is the 2019 winner of the Shean Strings Competition in Edmonton. The Korean-Canadian violinist also took the Paul J. Bourret Memorial Award for best performance of the imposed piece, Improvisation for solo violin by the late Canadian composer André Prévost. These prizes crown a brilliant career of musical studies that began in her hometown, New Denver, B.C., at age 5 with Daphne Hughes. Four years later, Ryu moved to Calgary to hone her skills at the Mount Royal Conservatory. Under William van der Sloot, she was a full scholarship student in the advanced performance program.
Ryu has won several national competitions, including first prize at the Canadian Music Competition as well as the grand award at the National Music Festival. More recently, she was a semi-finalist of the 2016 OSM Manulife Competition and the 2018 Klein International Strings Competition.
As a soloist, Ryu has performed with the Calgary Civic Symphony and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, making her orchestral debut at age 13. She also excels in more intimate settings, giving her debut recital last April in the Young Musicians Extraordinaire series in High River, Alberta with the 12-year-old pianist Kevin Chen. She will also play with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra at a date to be announced.
“Performing with an orchestra is not an event that is frequently given to young musicians, like myself,” she says. “So I am incredibly honoured and excited to be given this opportunity to learn and grow as a musician.”
Ryu is continually seeking to perfect her playing. She has performed for such renowned artists as James Ehnes, Pinchas Zukerman and Mauricio Fuks. She has also participated in summer festivals such as Morningside Music Bridge (Calgary), the Orford Music Academy, the Meadowmount School of Music (Westport, New York), and the National Arts Centre Young Artists Program (Ottawa). Moreover, in the summer of 2018, she attended the Aspen Music Festival on a violin fellowship. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Music degree under Paul Kantor at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston. “I am learning so much from my professor and every day feels so inspiring as I am surrounded by the other students who are incredibly talented and share the same passion for music as I do.”
Apart from her professional engagements as a performer, Ryu wants to make a difference in the larger community. It is worth noting that she was a violin teacher of the Calgary Multicultural Orchestra, providing free lessons and instruments to children from low-income families.