"It's really awesome to be around incredibly talented musicians," he said of the program.
At Julliard, Reilly will study under classical pianist Seymour Lipkin.
"I had heard a lot about him, and one of my teachers had told me she thought it would be a really good fit," he said. "I'm really excited."
Reilly said he enjoys playing classical pieces more than any other, and for the Eastman competition he's prepared numbers by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and other greats. He'll also be dipping into a more modern arrangement by Aaron Copland.
"The stuff that I play is what I choose to practice," he said. "There's something that you can gain from playing any piece...there's always something you can learn and add."
Each competitor will give two half-hour performances in the preliminary rounds. The five who are chosen to advance will present a movement of a piano concert, accompanied by the Rochester's Philharmonic Orchestra.
While it will be one of Reilly's few major competition appearances, he's had experience soloing with larger groups like the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra and the Empire State Youth Orchestra.
"It's really nice when both the piano and the orchestral are really involved," he said. "It's just really a different experience playing with other people."
The Reillys reside in Delmar, where Kendall and her husband, Chris, are raising Ryan and his younger brothers, Kyle and Conner.
For Kendall Reilly, perhaps the most jarring part of sending her first child to college in the fall will be the loss of a classical soundtrack her home.
"It's going to be very, very quiet," she said.
For more on the Eastman competition, visit www.esm.rochester.edu/pianocomp.""