Kwamé Ryan (Gonville and Caius '96)
Kwamé Ryan, born in Canada in 1970, is a world renown conductor and music educator in the Caribbean.
His early life and education was in Trinidad and Uganda. At age 14, he left the Island to pursue a career in classical music in the UK where he studied conducting, piano, voice, violin and double bass at Oakham School. By the time he was 17, he had become the Principal Double Bassist in the National Youth Orchestra, and in the National Youth Chamber Orchestra of England.
He came to Cambridge in 1989 as a member of Gonville and Caius College to study Musicology where he completed his BA and MA degrees (1996). He went on to also study Advanced Conducting at The Peter EÃ¶tvÃ¶s Conducting Institute in Szombately, Hungary for a university exchange programme. He subsequently premiered many of the works of the established composer and conductor. Early on, he also worked as a Teaching Assistant at TÃ¼bingen University, Germany.
He has had an extensive conducting career, serving as the General Music Director of Freiburg Opera from 1999 to 2003, Musical and Artistic Director of the National Orchestra of Bordeaux Aquitaine from 2007 to 2013. He frequently works as a guest conductor in a range of high profile national orchestras in Europe, the United States and Asia. A laureate in the Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards, his works have been recognised all over the world.
Ryan now combines freelance conducting with a role as Director of the Academy for the newly founded Academy for the Performing Arts at the University of Trinidad & Tobago (UTT). He dedicates a great deal of time to educational and community development work and has partnered with the Heroes Foundation charity to create a music mentorship event. Using his professional networks, he organises workshops and concerts for young local musicians with international orchestras. In 2015, he launched the musical youth exchange, CONNECTT, subsequently renamed The Youth Music Exchange (YMX) to embed international peer exchange programmes at the UTT.
Through his works, he emphasises the preservation of the unique cultural traditions, alongside modern and innovative performance to produce "a world-class but uniquely Caribbean institution". He was recently announced as a 2017 Laureate of the prestigious Sabga Award for Excellence in the field of Arts and Letters.
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