Ryan Middagh is Director of Jazz Studies at Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music. An innovative educator, composer, arranger, saxophonist, band leader and clinician, he has traveled the globe sharing his unique blend of talents and musical influences with audiences and music students. A passionate advocate for jazz education at all levels, he pursues creative programming and is devoted to reaching diverse communities through jazz.
An active jazz composer and arranger, Middagh has received numerous commissions from musicians and ensembles throughout the United States. He has written for Grammy-winning artists, DownBeat award-winning educational ensembles, and his work has been recorded by prominent collegiate and professional ensembles. Some notable collaborations include arranging for Victor Wooten, Wycliffe Gordon, Caleb Chapman’s Crescent Super Band, the Nashville Jazz Orchestra, and his Blair School of Music colleague Jeff Coffin.
Equally skilled as a soloist, collaborator and band leader, Middagh performs at jazz festivals around the world, including tours and performances on behalf of the U.S. State Department. While at home, he is a top-call studio musician in Nashville and performs in a wide array of genres. In addition to leading his own jazz small groups, he has recently started the Ryan Middagh Jazz Orchestra, which features some of Nashville’s finest musicians and acts as a vehicle for his new compositions and arrangements. His jazz orchestra released the album Live From Nashville in 2019 and is the recipient of a Global Music Award, and was nominated for Best Jazz Group and Best Jazz Album in the 2020 Nashville Industry Music Awards.
Beyond the world of jazz, Middagh enjoys a diverse musical career. This includes educational and performance collaborations with the Nashville Symphony; playing on projects produced by Questlove; serving as musical director for actor and comedian Bob Newhart; arranging for Toto keyboardist David Paich; playing for Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Ray Stevens; arranging and recording with Grammy-award winning blues artist Keb' Mo'; writing for the Boston Brass; playing on Disney soundtracks; and producing chamber music records.
Middagh is an artist and clinician for Yamaha Saxophones and D’addario Reeds.