Ryan, Thomas , Irish-American violist, clarinetist, and composer; b. in Ireland, 1827; d. New Bedford, Mass., March 5, 1903. He received instruction in violin and wind instruments in Ireland before emigrating to the U.S. in 1844. He settled in 1845 in Boston, where he founded the Mendelssohn Quintette Club, playing the viola (and upon occasion the clarinet), with August Fries (1st violin), Francis Riha (2nd violin), Eduard Lehmann (viola and flute), and Wulf Fries (cello); traveled all over the U.S. with it until it was dissolved in 1895, doing missionary work in bringing good music to remote communities; he also acted as its manager; arranged Classical sonatas and other works for it; after half a century, Ryan was the sole remaining original member of the organization. He publ. his memoirs, Recollections of an Old Musician (N.Y., 1899).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire