J. Ryan Garber's music is performed in a variety of venues in the US and abroad. He has received awards, recognition, and special performances from five national organizations. In 2002, he was named "Composer of the Year" by the Tennessee Music Teachers Association. His music has been released on the Bella Musica, Vox Novus, ErmMedia, and Capstone labels. Ryan earned the BM and MM in music composition at James Madison University, and the DM in music composition at The Florida State University. His principal teachers were John Hilliard and Ladislav Kubik. At FSU, he had additional study with Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. He has benefited from insights on his compositions from, among others, Donald Erb, Libby Larsen, and Nancy Van de Vate.

Ryan has taught college music courses and lessons for over twenty-five years in a variety of capacities. Currently, he is on the faculty at Carson-Newman University, and he is the organist at St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church in Farragut, TN.