Artist Spotlight: Ryan Stewart: Saxophonist and senator

by Hana Hetty Manuela


A talented musician and multi-instrumentalist, sophomore Ryan Stewart is active in the music scene at Whitworth. His ability to play the saxophone, clarinet and piano gave him the opportunity to play professionally throughout high school and college.

“I had jazz combo in high school; it’s like small jazz band with four or five people playing from the same high school,” Stewart said. “We got a gig to play for a big regional company in downtown and played professionally.”

He also performed several times in public places and hotels.

“I performed in Riverfront Park, and at Red Lion Hotel a couple of times, and I played at Davenport hotel for a New Year celebration,” Stewart said.

Although Stewart has had experience playing professionally since high school, he never stops practicing and learning more.

In 2014, Stewart started his music education at Whitworth and is majoring in music performance with a focus on classical and jazz saxophone.

While Stewart has a tight schedule with studying, work and Warren Hall senatorial duties, he is also active in off-campus activities. He joined a local jazz band to play with other music students and professional musicians.

“It’s a jazz band called The Master-Class Big Band,” Stewart said. “It’s kind of a cool local band that lets student and professionals get together and play gigs around town.”

In addition to playing saxophone, Stewart is interested in classical music history.

“I feel like music in the past teaches us a lot and I always will be a fan of older music,” Stewart said. “I love music stuff from the classical era. Its very cool to see, all the music we have today comes from music of the past.”

One of his favorite musicians from the classical era is Dexter Gordon, an American jazz tenor saxophonist. He admires and looks up to Gordon’s music performance skill.

“His tone and the way he plays, it’s very edgy and simplistic,” Stewart said. “I’d love to go to classical theater, either in France or in Italy. I’d love to perform as a feature. But I’d also enjoy to going to watch professional symphony orchestra.”

Stewart wants to continue his music education beyond Whitworth.

“I’m planning to go to graduate school to get doctorate in saxophone performance, and also hope to teach at a university,” Stewart said.

Contact Hana Hetty Manuela at

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