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Kwamé Ryan

Music Director Designate


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 between 1999 and 2003 and served as Musical and Artistic Director of the National Orchestra of Bordeaux Aquitaine between 2007 and 2013.  

Beginning 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 through the 2023-24 season. Ryan last appeared with the Charlotte Symphony in November 2023, for two critically acclaimed performances of Verdi's Requiem. Additional highlights of the 2023-24 season include return visits to the BBC Concert Orchestra and Charlotte Symphony, as well as debuts at Opera Theatre St. Louis, the New York Philharmonic, 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 UK, 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 conductor 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.

As a guest conductor in Germany, he has conducted 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, 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.