With an instrumental maturity and personality that contradict his young age, Ryan Leppich emanates a high level of confidence, promise and commitment to the art form he loves.
Beginning drums at the age of 11, he instantly found his passion for jazz. Ryan made the top jazz ensemble his freshman year of high school, and participated in several honor bands including the Music Works Northwest Honor Band, and the All-Northwest Jazz Band. Throughout high school, Ryan had played at nationally recognized venues including Rose Hall at Lincoln Center in NYC, the Paramount Theater, and Jazz Alley in Seattle.
At just age 21, Ryan has had the pleasure and honor of performing with many international jazz artists throughout school, including; David Liebman, Randy Brecker, Bob Sheppard, Gary Smulyan, Alex Sipiagin, Aaron Diehl, Greg Gisbert, Sheila Jordan, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Cuong Vu, Rich Perry, Tamir Hendelman, Christoph Luty, and Aaron Parks.
Ryan has also had the privilege of learning from great artists through workshops and private lessons, which have all influenced his musicianship. Some of these artists include Ron Carter (alto), Justin Dicioccio, Wycliffe Gordon, Javon Jackson, Ingrid Jensen, Adam Larson, Wynton Marsalis, Christian McBride, Dan Miller, Dan Nimmer, Ulysses Owens Jr., Marcus Printup, Bria Skonberg and Terrell Stafford.
Having a mentor and role model is something very important to a musician’s development and improvement, and Ryan considers himself very fortunate to have known the legendary drummer Jeff Hamilton for so long. Their relationship began when Ryan was only 15, and has continued strong to this day. From working intimately in a combo setting, to private lessons, and even performing a brush duet with Jeff, Ryan credits a lot of his growth to Mr. Hamilton. Ryan is also grateful to have been able to study privately with drummers like Jim White, Chris Smith, Garey Williams, Bryan Carter, Michael Shrieve and Steve Smith.
He is now attending the University of Northern Colorado, earning his Bachelor’s Degree of Music Performance: Drum Set Jazz Studies. As a part of UNC's Jazz Lab Band 1, Ryan performed the world premier of The Romeo and Juliet Project in 2017. This special suite was a musical re-imagination of the classic Shakespeare play, commissioned just for UNC under the direction of Dana Landry. In 2018, Lab 1 performed another musical re-imagniation, this time of the classic story Alice in Wonderland. This project is also expected to be recorded, at a later date.
At the UNC Greeley Jazz Festival in 2018, Lab 1 in conjuncture with the All Angles Orchestra performed an exhilarating tribute to the Brecker brothers, alongside Bob Sheppard and Randy Brecker. At the same festival, Ryan was able to play with the great vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater and pianist Aaron Diehl. UNC has proven time and time again to give Ryan a great deal of very special musical opportunities - all of which, he is very grateful for.
As a part of this world-renowned collegiate jazz ensemble, the UNC Lab Band 1 was most recently named the co-winner of the 2018 Best Large Jazz Ensemble in the Graduate College category for the 41st annual Downbeat Student Music Awards. The other co-winner was another group Ryan was a part of, The All Angles Orchestra. (More info on awards and recognition can be found below.)
Ryan's most recent project was the recording Back at the Roadhouse, released on June 21st of this year, with guitarist Teague Bechtel. This project included 9 original compositions by Teague, in several different instrumentations and orchestrations. The album has been featured several times on All About Jazz, as well as several radio stations across the country, with positive feedback in return.
When he isn't musically involved, Ryan loves to spend time outdoors hiking, rock climbing, running, and working out. He is also an avid Seattle Seahawks fan.
Awards and Recognition
2018 - Downbeat Student Music Awards, Best Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble, (UNC Vocal Lab, Co-Winner)
2018 - Downbeat Student Music Awards, Best Large Jazz Ensemble, (The All Angles Orchestra, Co-Winner)
2018 - Downbeat Student Music Awards, Best Large Jazz Ensemble, (UNC Lab Band 1, Co-Winner)
2018 - Jazz Education Network Conference, Recognized Performer, (UNC Vanguard Combo)
2018 - Jazz Education Network Conference, Recognized Performer, (UNC Vocal Lab)
2017 - Downbeat Student Music Awards, Best Large Jazz Ensemble, Graduate Level (UNC Lab Band 1)
2017 - Jazz Education Network Conference, Recognized Performer, (UNC Lab Band 1)
2015 - Newport Jazz Festival, Sweepstakes Award, (Mountlake Terrace High School)
2015 - SKMEA Regional Solo and Ensemble, First Alternate Snare Drum
2014 - Clark College Jazz Festival, Outstanding Soloist
2013 - Swing Central Jazz Festival, 3rd Place (Mountlake Terrace High School)
2012 - Essentially Ellington, Outstanding Soloist
2012 - Essentially Ellington, Outstanding Rhythm Section (Mountlake Terrace High School)
2012 - Essentially Ellington, 5th Place (Mountlake Terrace High School)