A Ph.D. candidate in Music Composition and Computer Technologies at the University of Virginia, Ryan Patrick Maguire grew up in Wisconsin where he earned a B.A. in Physics and taught mathematics after graduation. He later moved to Boston and completed postgraduate degrees at the New England Conservatory of Music in Music Composition, and earned his MA in Digital Musics from Dartmouth College.

Ryan has received international recognition from the BBC, CBC, NPR, Radiodeutschland Kultur, and Vice NOISEY, with related awards from the International Computer Music Association, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Raven Society and others. He is credited with creating “a great new genre of ambient ghost music” by Death and Taxes Magazine. Collaborating with Grammy Award winning Hip-Hop/R&B Producer 9th Wonder, the residency he co-directed at the University of Virginia received coverage from BET Music and was championed by UVA as one of the most significant events at the university last year. As a multi-instrumentalist and bandleader, his performance ensembles have conducted residencies and masterclasses at Bucknell University, UC-Irvine, Carnegie Mellon, and elsewhere. Ryan’s chamber music has been performed internationally by such ensembles as JACK Quartet, Yarn/Wire, loadbang, Ekmeles, and Calithumpian Consort. He has composed music for films shown at the National Film Archive, New York Film Festival, Harvard Film Archive, and Anthology Film Archives in NYC. He recently composed music and produced for Dr. A.D. Carson’s viral mixtap(e)ssay Sleepwalking: Vol. 1, as covered by Huffington Post, Okayplayer, and Ryan’s media art has been presented widely in Los Angeles, Berlin, London, New York, Toronto, Copenhagen, and has received over a million plays globally in over 200 countries via Vimeo, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp.

Speaking on NPR, Kenneth Goldsmith, the first poet laureate of the Museum of Modern Art, described his music as “beautiful, and ambient, and strange, and echoey, and ghostly”. Death and Taxes Magazine credited Ryan with creating “a great new genre of ambient ghost music”. His dissertation research takes listening formats (mp3, cd, spotify, etc.) as a point of departure to demonstrate how memories, materials, and our bodies interact to create musical meaning. He investigates lossy compression formats such as mp3, both as psychophysical technologies and as metaphors for how society selectively forgets certain peoples, histories, and musics. As our human relationships, institutions, and social lives become increasingly digitized, what is the residue left behind from our fantasies of digital totality? In “Database of Dreams: The Lost Quest to Catalog Humanity”, Harvard Professor of the History of Science Rebecca Lemov describes Ryan’s compositions from discarded mp3 artifacts as “throwaways that have become testimonies” to this very question.


contact: ryan (at) virginia (dot) edu