Kwamé Ryan was born in Canada and grew up on the Caribbean island of Trinidad, where he received his early musical education. At the age of fourteen he was enrolled in boarding school in England, where he studied conducting, piano, voice, violin and double bass, before moving on to study musicology at Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge University. In 1991 he began his conducting studies with the composer and conductor Peter Eötvös, many of whose works he has premiered.
He held the position of General Music Director of Freiburg Opera between 1999 and 2003, and that of Musical and Artistic Director of the National Orchestra of Bordeaux Aquitaine between 2007 and 2013. As a guest conductor, he has in Germany conducted the Radio Orchestras of Baden-Baden and Freiburg, Stuttgart, and Bavaria, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Staatsoper Saarbrücken and Staatsoper Stuttgart.
In France, he has worked at the Opera de la Bastille, Opera de Lyon, and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and in the USA, the Symphony Orchestras of Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Houston, New Jersey, the WPO, New York, and the Grant Park Festival, Chicago. In the U.K., English National Opera, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and Royal Scottish Symphony, the London Philharmonia and Chineke! at the BBC Proms. He is a regular guest of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.
Ryan now conducts worldwide as a freelancer, while dedicating himself to educational and community development work as Director of Trinidad and Tobago's recently founded Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. He was was also the 2017 Laureate of the prestigious Sabga Award for Excellence in the field of Arts and Letters.
In the 2019/2020 Season, return to Opera de la Monnaie for the much anticipated World Premiere of The Time of Our Singing by Kris de Foort dedicating a sustantial part of his year to the development of his youth art organisation Searchlight International.
Recent & Soon
KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra
Opera de La Monnaie Brussels
Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance
University of Delaware
African American Museum, Philadelphia
Officer, Order of Arts and Letters, France
Victoire de la Musique, Contemporary Music
Cambridge Commonwealth Scholarship
Miliffe Scholarship, Cambridge University
Hall of Achievement - Fatima College
Schubert: Symphony No. 9
Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2
Hartmann: Simplicius Simplicissimus
Grisey: Vortex Temporum