New Albion is pleased to announce the solo debut of guitarist and composer Gyan Riley. This set of compositions describes a path that started in what surely must have been a most unique household. Now, at the age of 25, his complete command of the canon for nylon string guitar is wedded with a Northern California sensibility for improvisation and drift.
Gyan Riley, born in California in 1977, is the son of renowned avant garde composer and North Indian Raga vocalist Terry Riley. He completed his undergraduate studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the direction of David Tanenbaum and later received a Masters Degree at the Conservatory under Dusan Bogdanovic, mentor for both performance and composition. In March 1999 he received First Prize in the Portland Guitar Festival Competition and in February 2001 was awarded First Prize in the San Francisco Conservatory Guitar Concerto Competition. He performed in the Bremen Musikfest '98 in Bremen, Germany and the New American Music Festival '98 in Sacramento, California, both as a soloist and in duo with David Tanenbaum. Gyan performed piano-guitar duos with his father at the Muenchner Klaviersommer '99 festival in Munich and made his first New York appearance at Merkin Hall in January of 2000, performing solo and ensemble works with Terry Riley and the All-Stars. Later that month, Gyan appeared as guitarist for the Tracy Silverman Trio at Cemal Resit Rey Concert Hall in Istanbul, Turkey. In July of 2000, Gyan performed solo and in a duo with Dusan Bogdanovic at the Festival Sitar-Guitar in Rome. In January of 2001, Gyan played in the American premiere of John Adams' "El Nino" with David Tanenbaum, soprano Dawn Upshaw, and the San Francisco Symphony. Gyan performed in the Other Minds Festival in March 2001 and in June 2001 Gyan appeared with the All-Stars at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London as part of the Meltdown Festival. The band also toured Italy and the US in Spring 2002. Gyan recently gave concerts of original solo works at the GFA 2001 Festival in La Jolla, California, and at the Planet Tree Festival in London. Gyan is currently the artistic director for the San Francisco Classical Guitar Society. He was commissioned by the Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center to write a solo guitar work for Jorge Caballero's February 2000 performance at Merkin Concert Hall in New York. Gyan is also featured on the New Albion recording "The Book of Abbeyozzud", Terry Riley's series of 28 guitar pieces, each with a title beginning with a different letter of the Spanish alphabet. "Piedad" is one of three solo works in the set, written as a gift for Gyan in his 18th birthday. Gyan (the word means 'knowledge' in Hindi) is the only person to have been named by Pandit Pran Nath: when Terry and Ann announced they were expecting, Pran Nath proclaimed "Gyan Shankar is coming."
Reviews"It is not only an extraordinary capacity to interpret a wide variety of idioms with ease and integrity, depth of expression, inventive and adventurous improvising, interesting, intricate and deeply felt compositions; but also more subtle personal and spiritual qualities that make Gyan a unique and exceptional artist." - Dusan Bogdanovic