Ryan MacKenzie is one of the most sought after musicians in the country. His prodigious versatility has seen him work across a huge variety of genres, collaborating with leading names in pop, Hollywood, jazz, theatre and folk, such as Pixie Lott, Alan Cumming, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Donna McKechnie, Christina Bianco, Eddi Reader, Barbara Dickson, New York Voices, Natalie Williams and Emma Smith, to name a few.
Raised in Buckie, around the coast from Aberdeen, Ryan grew up surrounded by Strathspey’s rich folk music scene. He went on to study piano at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with Nadia Boulanger alumnus Norman Beedie, before moving to London. Here he spent a couple of years in high demand as a music director and session player, before studying for a Master’s degree in composition and arranging at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
As a pianist and keyboard player, Ryan’s concert work has included such celebrated productions as BBC Children in Need, Time Flies: 100 Years of the RAF, the West End Does series, and the RSNO’s annual St. Andrews Night celebrations. His musical theatre credits include Les Misérables (International Tour), Guys and Dolls (Savoy Theatre & UK Tour), West Side Story (International Tour), Mary Poppins (International Tour), and a workshop of Starlight Express with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Arlene Phillips. And as an arranger and orchestrator, he has written for some of the country’s most prolific ensembles, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
While currently based in London, Ryan hasn’t lost touch with his roots, maintaining a keen interest in Scotland’s vibrant folk scene, as with his highly-praised contribution to award-winning singer Robyn Stapleton’s Songs of Robert Burns album, and regular work with Phil Cunningham. Since 2015, he’s also staged an annual Christmas benefit show back in his native Highlands, featuring seasonal big-band classics from a line-up of top young jazzers. Launched to support a friend’s fundraising, Let it Snow is now the area’s biggest Christmas event, and has donated nearly ten thousand pounds to Lucy’s Fight and MND Scotland.