Copyright © 2018 Quill Classics
Born in New York City, Erik Ryding began music studies at age nine, when his
father gave him his first lessons on the harpsichord. In high school he performed
in an electric-guitar duo and also studied classical guitar with William
Hellermann; he later studied with jazz guitarist Lou Mecca. In his late teens, he
settled on the lute, studying with Frank Eyler in New York and participating in
master classes with Eugen Dombois in the Netherlands. As an undergraduate,
he majored in music and English, giving early-music performances in the New
York area and accompanying many singers. He later studied lute in Basel,
Switzerland, with Anthony Bailes, taking a particular interest in historical
techniques and ornamentation. In 1979 and 1981 he toured Germany,
performing with the soprano and lutenist Cornelia Praetorius. Though he
continued to play the lute while finishing his dissertation at Columbia University—
a thesis on Renaissance music and poetry, later published as
In Harmony
Framed: Musical Humanism, Thomas Campion, and the Two Daniels
—in the mid-
1980s he began to suffer severe back pain, which eventually forced him to stop
playing altogether. In 2008, however, after hearing a performance by the 93-
year-old Les Paul, he determined to return to the lute, teaching himself how to
play standing up, which put less stress on his back. He began collaborating with
Amanda Sidebottom in 2010, and they formed Well-Tuned Words in 2011. Since
its formation, the duo has performed frequently, with concerts on both coasts of
the United States as well as in Milan, Paris, Amsterdam, Basel, and Berlin.
Great Wonder, Fanfare wrote: “Lutenist Erik Ryding is the perfect
partner, providing a solid and sensitive accompaniment. His rhythmic acumen
is excellent, especially in the various inner voices, all of which are clear and
distinct.” In June 2016 he played in an ensemble of twenty lutes led by Paul
O'Dette that included Nigel North, Ronn McFarlane, Robert Barto, Xavier Diaz-
Latorre, Christopher Morrongiello, and other lute masters. Erik taught literature
for a decade and a half, specializing in the Renaissance, before beginning a
new life in the frenetic music business—a period culminating in seven years at
Carnegie Hall. With his wife, the harpsichordist Rebecca Pechefsky, he co-
authored the award-winning biography
Bruno Walter: A World Elsewhere (Yale
University Press), now issued also in Japanese translation by Ongaku No Tomo
Sha. For years he gave annual pre-concert lectures on different lute-song
collections performed by My Lord Chamberlain’s Consort. His other lectures
include the pre-concert talks on Mahler’s Eighth Symphony for Lorin Maazel’s
final appearances as music director of the New York Philharmonic. Erik is the
founder of Quill Classics and its chief engineer-producer, as well as co-artistic
director (with Rebecca Pechefsky) of Music at Morris-Jumel, an early-music
series now in its sixteenth season and held in Manhattan’s oldest surviving
QC Audio
Great Wonder

QC Video
Awake, Sweet Love (Dowland)
Go, Crystal Tears (Dowland)
An Evening Hymn (Purcell)
He Whose Desires (Danyel)
Like as the Lute (Danyel)
Now, O Now (Dowland)