Rebecca Ryan

Interim Dean of the Smat / Assoc Professor of Music

As a professor, Dr. Ryan teaches Music Appreciation and Fundamentals of Music, courses taken by music majors and non-majors. She provides a wide range of interactions with music, from studying and attending an opera at the Lyric Opera of Chicago to studying Latin jazz to whatever styles or experiences students themselves are drawn to. “It is a privilege to spend time talking about music with students,” Dr. Ryan says. “They come from a variety of backgrounds, which makes each semester unique.”

In Music Appreciation, she also gets students involved with the Chicago music scene, requiring them to attend three concerts during the semester, with two from any genre they desire. “I am impressed with some of the choices students make,” Dr. Ryan says. “I have seen programs ranging from the Chicago Symphony to Kingston Mines to Funkadeski to Lyrics Born.”

As director of operations for the School, Dr. Ryan interacts with the professional musicians from all over Chicago who come to the University to teach lessons and courses. Her other role, as music recruiter, sends her around the country to meet prospective students and help them find their place at the University. She meets students who will be music majors, and those who won’t, but who still love music. She encourages all to get involved in what the School of Music has to offer. “The School has several non-music major offerings such as ensembles, lessons, and music coursework,” she says. “Don’t be shy—get involved!”

As a performer, Dr. Ryan has appeared with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Florentine Opera, OperaModa, Madison Opera, Milwaukee Symphony, Music by the Lake, Opera for the Young, and UW-Madison Opera. Her signature operatic roles include Dorabella, Serse, Hansel, Orlofsky, Flora, Kate Pinkerton, Mercedes, Second Lady, Julia Child, Marcellina, and Tisbe. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Chicago Cabaret Professionals, and an associate member of The Voice Foundation.