Ryan Suleiman

Assistant Professor
Affiliated Departments
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Ryan Suleiman was born to Lebanese and midwestern parents in California. His music engages with dreaming, the natural world, and the understated beauty of everyday life. His one-act chamber opera, Moon, Bride, Dogs, was described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “a gem” with “an aesthetic that is at once so strange and so accessible.” While his artistic interests vary, he seeks ways of conveying the simultaneity of beauty and dread that characterizes our times.

Suleiman’s music has been performed at numerous festivals, including the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice in Boston, Massachusetts; June in Buffalo in New York; and the NANOworks Opera Workshop in Atlanta, Georgia; and he has collaborated with numerous ensembles. Recent projects include the opera The School for Girls Who Lost Everything in the Fire (in progress) with writer Cristina Fríes, a piano concerto exploring the apocalypse, and a work for socially-distanced soprano and chamber ensemble that contemplates collective feelings of isolation.

Suleiman completed his Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis, where he wrote his dissertation on Unsuk Chin’s Cello Concerto through the lens of dreams and performance. He is currently an assistant professor at Berklee College of Music and has held teaching positions at the Sacramento State School of Music and UC Davis. He currently resides in Boston with his partner and several furry animals.

Career Highlights
  • Collaborations and commissions with Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, West Edge Opera, Juventas Ensemble, Daedalus Quartet, and Calder Quartet, among many others
  • Piano cycle Under Moonlight recorded by Jai Jeffryes in the solo album Amethyst, released by Naxos
  • Provost Fellowship, University of California, Davis
  • Ph.D., University of California, Davis, composition/theory
  • B.M., Sacramento State School of Music, theory/composition
In Their Own Words

"I want my students to walk away with a strong grasp of musical techniques, but only so that they may feel empowered to say something important with their music and do it eloquently. Music is first and foremost sound, but it is also far more than sound: it's emotions, culture, ideas, and people interacting with each other onstage, after a concert, out in the world, and in our civilization as a whole."

"I want them to be aware of all this and their place in the world as artists. I also want them to keep asking what music 'is' exactly and what it means to them, because it will inspire them to keep re-imagining what is possible in their work."