Dr. Ryan C. Lewis is Assistant Professor of Percussion at Ouachita Baptist University where he teaches Applied Percussion, Percussion Techniques, and Music History courses and directs the Percussion Ensemble and Tiger Marching Band Drum Line. Previously he served on the music faculties of Claflin University, the University of South Carolina, and Florida State University, where he directed the Caribbean Steel Drum Ensemble. Lewis received recognition for outstanding undergraduate teaching at the University of South Carolina and was awarded “Teacher of the Year” honors as a public school General Music Teacher in Florida.
Lewis holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Percussion Performance from the University of South Carolina, a Master of Music in Percussion Performance from Florida State University, and a Bachelor’s of Instrumental Music Education from Furman University. He is an active member of the international Percussive Arts Society and the College Music Society, and is an Artist-Educator for Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets. His primary teachers include Scott Herring, John W. Parks IV, Gary Werdesheim, Leon Anderson, Jonathan Haas, and John S. Beckford.
Lewis has performed as timpanist-percussionist with many professional symphony orchestras and under the direction of maestros Keith Lockhart, David Zinman, and Leonard Slatkin. He has served as Principal Percussionist of the Spartanburg Symphony Orchestra and presented a solo timpani performance at the 2007 Percussive Arts Society International Convention. Lewis has performed with the symphonic and opera orchestras of the Aspen Music Festival and the Rome Festival of Italy, as well as the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra, Augusta Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra, Long Bay Symphony Orchestra, and Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra.
An avid chamber musician and collaborator, Lewis performs with his own piano-percussion group, Duo Matre, and has appeared with So Percussion, composer-conductor John Harbison, Mannheim Steamroller, Afro-pop guitarist Habib Koité, and Chinese zheng-master Haiqiong Deng in her Carnegie Hall debut.
His scholarly activities include published articles in Percussive Notes andMusical Reference Services Quarterly, and research presentations at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention and College Music Society National Convention. Lewis frequently presents clinics, masterclasses, and guest lectures at music educator conferences, high schools, and universities centering on world music cultures, hand drums, jazz drum set, fundamental techniques, symphonic performance practice, and historical aspects of percussion instruments.
Lewis reads science fiction-fantasy novels rather slowly and plays racquetball rather poorly, but manages to cook rather decently. He and his wife, Marie, live in Arkadelphia with their children, Carson and Morgan, and their escape-artist beagle, Hannah.