Artist Spotlight: Ryan Olsen

Pat Brooks

Senior Ryan Olsen, hailing from Mounds View, Minn., approaches the trumpet with an unwavering artistic philosophy: “Whenever I play, I try to make what I am playing sound as good as it possibly can — to do and sound my best,” he said. “Anything less than that is unacceptable.”The determination Olsen brings to the trumpet has certainly been fruitful. He is principal trumpet in LSO, section leader in Wind Ensemble, and despite his status as a classical trumpet performance major, he is also a member of LUJE.

“I love listening to jazz, but I’m more experienced at classical so I am better at it. As much as I love jazz, I’m not as comfortable playing it,” Olsen explained.

Olsen’s initial musical interest was in percussion, but “there were no spots available in my fifth grade band as a percussionist, so I just didn’t play in it that year. In sixth grade I joined as a trumpeter instead,” he said. Olsen played trumpet in marching band in high school, and joined Drum Corps for a summer before coming to Lawrence.

Despite his continued involvement with the instrument, Olsen never took private lessons until coming to Lawrence. “I took piano lessons from 4th to 7th grade, and practicing piano was a chore, so I was worried that if I took private trumpet lessons, trumpet would turn into a chore too,” he said.

“All throughout high school, my basic training was playing in bands, and listening to good players and recordings and trying to imitate them.”

Some of Olsen’s musical highlights include an opportunity in high school to play in Minnesota’s Orchestra Hall with the Minnesota All-State Orchestra under direction of Lawrence’s own David Becker, and his most recent performance at the PAC with LUJE. “I remember the curtain going up and just looking at a sold-out concert hall in awe,” he says of the PAC concert.

You can see Olsen performing onstage this Saturday with Wind Ensemble, or next Friday with LSO. He also has a recital coming up in February 2 at 8 p.m., so be sure to check it out!

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