Ryan Murray is currently Principal Pops Conductor for the Modesto Symphony, Music Director of the Auburn Symphony and Artistic Director of the Music in the Mountains Summer Festival. He is also the Director of Symphony Orchestra & Opera at California State University, Sacramento, and the Conductor for the Sacramento Youth Symphony's premier orchestra. An award-winning opera conductor, Ryan spent his early career working as an assistant conductor and répétiteur, and serves as Music Director of Opera Modesto. He has served as an assistant conductor at the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera, is the past Music Director of Fresno Grand Opera, and previously worked as a staff conductor for the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute (BASOTI) and The Opera Academy of California in San Francisco. Effortlessly moving between genres, Ryan currently enjoys a wide range of performance genres & platforms, including traditional orchestral and operatic repertoire, pops performances, movies in concert, and a notable emphasis on contemporary American operatic works.
Ryan was the winner of the Vienna Philharmonic’s prestigious Ansbacher Fellowship for Young Conductors, and spent the summer in residence alongside the Vienna Philharmonic at the 2014 Salzburg Festival. Ryan was also awarded second place in the 2019 American Prize for Professional Orchestral Conducting for his work with the Modesto Symphony, and has garnered national recognition for his dynamic, compelling performances of contemporary opera as the winner of the 2017 American Prize in Opera Conducting for his highly lauded production of A Streetcar Named Desire. He was a 2016 semi-finalist for the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music for his production of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking.
A charismatic pops conductor, Ryan has worked with prominent artists such as Storm Large of Pink Martini, SuperDiamond and the phenomenal symphonic tribute to David Bowie. He was recently engaged to step-in at the last minute as assistant and cover conductor for Andrea Bocelli's Believe Tour with the Sacramento Philharmonic where he conducted rehearsals to acclaim. He has led some of the top vocalists from Broadway and beyond, including Ben Crawford (Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera), Ashley Brown (Broadway's Mary Poppins), and Alli Mauzey (Glinda from Wicked), as well as some of today's top young jazz vocalists including Tony DeSare and James Tormé. With an enthusiasm for film scores, Ryan enjoys the unique challenges of conducting movies in concert and is a Disney & ICM Approved Conductor. Recent and upcoming performances include Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Pixar Animation Studios' Pixar in Concert, Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
Ryan holds degrees, summa cum laude, in Bassoon Performance and Voice Performance from California State University, Sacramento and also holds a master’s degree, with distinction, in Music Business from the Berklee College of Music where he studied with industry professionals to develop tools for success in the modern music industry, including new technology, policy, law and finance. Driven by a lifelong passion for learning, Ryan has attended conducting masterclasses and seminars around the world. Ryan recently conducted the Romanian Chamber Orchestra in concert and was one of just eight conductors worldwide to be invited to the Musiikin aika Summer Festival Masterclass in Finland led by Musical America's 2017 Conductor of the Year & Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Susanna Mälkki. He has previously attended the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music's Conductors Workshop; the contemporary music symposium led by Alan Gilbert featuring the New York Philharmonic; the Aurora Chamber Festival in Sweden, where he studied under Maestro Kurt Masur; the Lucerne Festival Academy’s Conducting Masterclass in Switzerland; and the Eastman School of Music’s Summer Conducting Institute. Widely praised for his tireless work ethic, natural poise, and impassioned, inspired performances, Ryan continues to connect deeply with orchestras and audiences alike, and has proven to be a formidable presence on the podium.