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Kwamé Ryan

Conductor

Biography

Born in Canada and raised on the Caribbean island of Trinidad, Kwamé Ryan discovered his passion for conducting at the age of nine. He read musicology at Cambridge University and studied conducting under the guidance of renowned composer / conductor Peter Eötvös. Ryan held the position of general music director of Freiburg Opera, 1999–2003, and served as musical and artistic director of the National Orchestra of Bordeaux Aquitaine, 2007–13.  

In the 2024–25 season Ryan will begin his tenure as the 12th music director of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, having served as music director designate since his appointment was announced in December 2023. Ryan’s most recent appearance with the Charlotte Symphony was in November 2023, when he led two critically acclaimed performances of the Verdi Requiem. Additional highlights of his 2023–24 season include returns to the BBC Concert Orchestra and Charlotte Symphony, as well as debuts at the New York Philharmonic, Opera Theatre Saint Louis, and Houston Grand Opera, for the world premiere of Intelligence, the long-anticipated new stage work by acclaimed composer Jake Heggie.

An active guest conductor in the United States and the United Kingdom, Ryan has led the Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, Atlanta, and Houston symphony orchestras as well as Boston Lyric Opera, English National Opera, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra. He is a regular guest at the BBC Proms, and most recently returned to Brussels’s La Monnaie for the world premiere of Kris Defoort’s The Time of our Singing, which won the International Opera Award for World Premiere of the Year in 2021.

In Germany, he has appeared as guest conductor with the Stuttgart and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestras, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Berlin Konzerthausorchester, Saarbrücken Staatsoper, and Stuttgart Staatsoper. In France he has worked at Opera Bastille, Opéra National de Lyon, and the Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France.  

A recipient of international awards for outstanding work in the field of music education, Kwamé Ryan has served as musical director of the National Youth Orchestra of France and as director of the Academy for the Performing Arts at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. 

Upcoming 2023-2024 Performances

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