Ryan Lee Peterson


My name is Ryan Peterson and I’m a current sophomore horn performance major at Penn State University. Through multiple years in my local youth orchestra, musical festivals long with the strong music program at Central York School District, I’ve decided I want to pursue a career in horn performance. The first time I ever played the horn was in the 4th grade when most elementary students are being introduced to band for the first time. Admittedly, I didn’t choose the horn as my instrument because I absolutely wanted to play it, it was more like no one else in band chose it, so my band director recommended me to fill in the spot. However, as I joined my local junior symphony orchestra, I learned how rewarding it was to produce higher quality music than elementary band. As I continued to grow and mature as a young musician, I aged out of the York Junior Symphony Orchestra and moved up to the York Youth Symphony Orchestra (Y.Y.S.O). The Y.Y.S.O is where I received most of the best experiences in orchestral music by performing works by Antonin Dvorak, Edvard Greig, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Leonard Bernstein, John Williams, Gioachino Rossini, Manuel De Falla, Johan Strauss II, Gustav Holst, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Camille Saint-Saen, Ralph Vaughn Williams, Bob Krogstad, Victor Ewald etc. I also received chamber ensemble experience through the brass quintet coach that all the principal players were selected. My time in the Y.Y.S.O was a very fulfilling experience of musical excellence and I’m proud to have served as principal horn for the last two years that I was involved in the program. While I was involved in the Y.Y.S.O I was also committed to playing in my high school marching band. Through the fun and exhausting time during band camp, I had the opportunity to experience the marching arts and the mellophone. In my time in Central York High School (CYHS) Panther Marching Band, I also had the honor of being elected the best marching band member for 3 years in a row. Outside of marching band I was also involved in other musical activities at CYHS. In my Freshman year of high school, I took advanced music theory and learned about ear training, Roman numeral analysis, and sections about music history. I also took a basic piano course to develop skills in piano playing. I was briefly involved with the CYHS performing arts department in the production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast where I played principal horn in the pit orchestra. In my senior year, I also participated in my high school choir as a tenor. Since I knew I needed help learning how to sing, I took private vocal lessons with a local teacher. Outside of the Y.Y.S.O and my high school’s music department, I was also involved in the Pennsylvania Music Educator Association Festivals (PMEA). Every winter into spring there’s a music festival season where students audition for district ensembles which opens spots for region and all state level auditions. In my 4 years of PMEA festival auditions, I made district and regional level orchestra and band. After making my way through those auditions in 2017 and being selected for All-State Orchestra I took the opportunity to audition for the National Association for Music Education All-National Ensembles (NAFME). Fortunately, I was accepted for the 2017 All-National Orchestra as the principal horn. In 2018 when I made the All-State Wind Ensemble, I also had the opportunity to audition for the NAFME All-Eastern Ensembles. In 2019 I received my audition results, and I was excited when I found out that I made it as a first part horn! After the re-audition process I advanced to principal horn. At the end of my high school music career, I felt very fulfilled because I had made a lot of friends and I had the opportunity to perform some of the best works with the best high school musicians. Today I am currently studying at Penn State University with Professor Lisa Bontrager and I’ve had many great accomplishments and opportunities. For the first time in my life, I’m able to play in a large horn choir and explore horn choir repertoire. I’ve also auditioned for and been a member of the Penn State Symphonic Band, Philharmonic Orchestra, and Symphonic Wind Ensemble. One of the huge highlights of my freshman year at Penn State was when I was selected from a blind audition to perform in Mahler Symphony 3. In Spring 2020, I received jury recognition which is the highest honor awarded to high brass juries. In fall 2020, I auditioned for and won the opportunity to be given a masterclass by Jeffery Lang the Associate Principal Horn of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Along with the Jeffery Lang master class I was also awarded jury recognition again for my Fall 2020 jury. In fall 2020, I also had the opportunity to participate in masterclasses given by James Naigus and Michelle Stebleton. Outside of ensembles I’ve also been taking course applied to music theory, sight-singing/ aural skills, music history, and keyboard skills.

You can find Ryan’s performance here.


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