Now Hear This: An Interview with Ryland Angel

ryland_2008Ryland Angel, highly sought-after countertenor soloist, answered these questions for our audience. Ryland and six early music specialists perform Saturday in
our Bancroft Family Concert at the Dallas Museum of Art’s Horchow Auditorium
. Doors open at 2:30 for the 3:00 concert. As always, the concert is free.

What is your favorite piece on the Feb. 20 program, and why? They are all great. I do enjoy the Stabat Mater by Giovanni Felice Sances. I get to “duet” with Kristin Van Cleve on the violin.

What do you love about chamber music? Making music well includes a lot of listening and vibe-ing with other musicians around you. It’s fun to do this in an intimate group.

Some of our audience may never have heard a countertenor before. Can you tell us what a countertenor is? It’s nothing new! A man’s voice breaks, and he has a lower register and a high, or falsetto, register. That upper register is the countertenor, or sometimes soprano, register. You just have to decide if you want to use it or not. It’s become very popular recently in the classical world.

What other works would you recommend for someone who wants to hear more countertenor performances? Countertenors have been around for donkey’s years in pop music: think Michael Jackson, the Bee Gees, Freddie Mercury/Queen, Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, etc.

It’s popular in movies, too. The recent James Bond film, Spectre, featured an extended audio clip of a countertenor singing Vivaldi.

In fact, I’m excited to share with you that my voice is heard in Zoolander 2, which just opened in theaters. You can hear me during the Justin Bieber chase scene.

What should parents keep in mind for their children studying music? Music is excellent therapy and expands the mind. Learning an instrument or two and signing in a non-pressured environment is so beneficial in so many different ways.

You are in demand as a performer. How do you keep your voice in shape when you travel for performances? I don’t use my voice unnecessarily. You must keep it fresh, after all. That calls for early nights and lots of water. Always maintain a positive attitude!

What is the strangest/most memorable place you’ve ever had to warm up? Umm … now that would be telling.

Who’s your favorite composer to listen to? To sing? Oh, there are so many! That’s too tough of a question.

What’s your favorite sound (musical or non-musical)? Waves, wind, and rain are great.

Once you leave this world and reach the pearly gates, what celestial concert are you looking forward to? To be honest, when we pass on to Heaven, I think all perception of sound will be different, so I could only tell you when I get there. There is a Bible passage describing choirs of angels singing next to a glassy sea, worshipping God. I really hope to be there!