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Organist ~ Leslie Ryan BA (hons mus), LCCMD, Cert Ed. (Wales) AWCCM

The Brangwyn Hall, Swansea


Leslie Ryan was born in Penarth, South Wales.  He became the organist at St. Augustine's Parish Church in Penarth and an organ scholar at Llandaff Cathedral at the age of 15. Leslie trained at the (now) Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where he won several prizes. He qualified as a teacher at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.  He has a joint honours B.A degree in music and philosophy and a diploma, with distinction, in organ playing. 

He held several posts as head of music at Morriston Comprehensive School, Bishop Gore School where he was also head of the faculty of Creative Arts, and at Gorseinon College, Swansea where he specialised in teaching AS, A level and Scholarship level music. In all these posts he established an outstanding reputation for a wide range of extra curricular activities in orchestral, choral music and theatre production. For many years Leslie was one of the choral tutors working with the West Glamorgan Youth Choir.

Leslie has conducted the BBC Songs of Praise and had the honour of playing the organ for the National Gymanfa Ganu of America when on tour with the Orpheus and conducting the Orpheus at the 1977 Berlin Tattoo.

His association with the Orpheus began when he moved to Swansea in 1970 and was appointed its official organist, at the age of 23, under the inspirational direction of Lyn Harry. In 1974 he was also appointed organist to Llwynderw Parish in Swansea. In 1975 Leslie became Musical Director of the Orpheus and his first engagement was conducting the Choir at the Royal Albert Hall, London. He directed the Orpheus for its ground-breaking LP It's A Grand Night for Singing which featured 48 songs! To mark his appointment, Leslie composed a choral anthem for the Orpheus, Sing We Merrily, which was recorded and by EMI and published by Novello. Leslie is featured on nine of the Orpheus recordings either as organist or musical director. It was during the period when Leslie was Musical Director of the Orpheus that the MOCSA Young Welsh Singer of the Year competition was established.

In 1979 Leslie relinquished his role as Musical Director with the Orpheus to concentrate on his professional teaching career.

In 2005 he was awarded the prestigious Archbishop of Wales Certificate of Merit in Church Music. Since his appointment at All Saints, BBC radio has broadcast eight "Celebration" services from All Saints with Leslie as organist.  In 2015  Leslie retired after 14 years of service as  organist and co-director of music with his wife Penny at All Saints Church Oystermouth, Swansea

Leslie resumed his association with the Orpheus in 2006 as guest organist and is now its official organist. He is delighted once again to be associated with this world-famous choir. He has accompanied the Choir as organist at many prestigious venues including St David's Cathedral, Brecon Cathedral, Llandaff Cathedral, Brangwyn Hall Swansea (photo above), Coventry Cathedral, Lincoln Cathedral, Lichfield Cathedral, Ely Cathedral, Pershore Abbey, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Huddersfield Town Hall, St David's Hall Cardiff, Oxford Sheldonian Theatre and  Oxford Town Hall.

Leslie at the Royal Festival Hall organ


He enjoys composing and arranging all sorts of music. He is married to Penny Ryan OBE, choral director of The Ariosa Singers youth choir and Mumbles Voices community choir. Their daughter Sali-Wyn is a professional violinist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

In 2009, in recognition of his contribution and commitment to the Choir, Les was awarded Life Membership.