Ryan Wells, an accomplished pianist, was a professor of music at Union College from 1978 to 2009. He has given numerous solo, chamber, and concerto performances throughout the nation and has also played frequently on both public radio and public television.
As a professor of music in Union College's Division of Fine Arts for over thirty years, Wells served as a teacher and administrator and performed frequently. He developed highly rated music theory and piano performance programs and received a Zapara Award for Teaching Excellence while at UC. He served as chair of the Division of Fine Arts for eight years.
A strong believer in the value of the fine arts, Wells has aggressively promoted them in the state of Nebraska, filling various roles with Nebraska Public Radio, the Nebraska Arts Council, and the MTNA-NMTA. He has served as an adjudicator for numerous music competitions, including the 2004 MTNA Steinway & Sons Young Artist competition for the state of Nebraska. In 2003, he and fellow faculty member Ken Hoppman started a new Piano Pedagogy degree program at UC that attracted considerable interest locally and nationwide.
Wells has released four CDs. The first, Shades of Enchantment, was released in 1995. The second, Night Songs, is a collection of Romantic works for the piano that feature the expressive lyrical capabilities of the instrument. A commercial CD, it was released in November 2004. A third CD, An Afternoon Concert, featuring sonatas of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, was completed and released in 2005. His most recent CD, Colors of Expression, was released this summer.
He maintains a busy schedule balancing family, professional, and church responsibilities. His wife, Rebecca (Henkelmann), is a Certified Nurse Midwife, who practiced in Hastings, Nebraska, until recently. They have three daughters, Lisa and Laura, identical twins, and Sheila.
Wells graduated from UC with a B.S. in music education in 1974. He subsequently completed an M.Mus in piano performance at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1978, and a D.M.A. in piano performance and music theory at the University of Arizona in 1982.
Sources: Information provided by Ryan Wells, 2009; Liners for Cds; personal knowledge.