Hailed as “powerfully expressive” (Boston Classical Review), an “effervescent” conductor of “finesse” (Boston Globe) and a “thinking man’s conductor” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), Ryan Turner (M.M. ‘98, musical theater) stands alone for his masterful interpretations of Bach, Stravinsky and Harbison. Now in his eighth season as Artistic Director of Emmanuel Music, Turner has established himself as both a conductor and innovative programmer.
Assiduously fluent and passionate about the music of Bach, Turner has conducted more than 170 Bach cantatas, as well as Bach’s St. John Passion, St. Matthew Passion, his reconstruction of St. Mark Passion, Mass in B minor, Christmas Oratorio, and all orchestral suites. A champion for new music, Turner has premiered the work of contemporary composers John Harbison, Matthew Aucoin, James Primosch, Brett Johnson, and Ben Houge.
As an opera conductor, Turner recently led acclaimed performances of Martin' Le Vin herbé and Philip Glass’s In the Penal Colony with Boston Lyric Opera. At the helm of Emmanuel Music, Turner's conducting credits include: Stravinsky’s Rake’s Progress; Harbison’s The Great Gatsby; Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, Die Enthführung aus dem Serail, and Apollo et Hyacinthus; Handel’s Susanna and Apollo e Dafne; Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins; as well as Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.
In addition to his work as a conductor, Turner has appeared as a tenor soloist in oratorios, recitals, and operas. Highlights include Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato with Mark Morris Dance Group, six seasons with the Carmel Bach Festival, and 15 years with Emmanuel Music. Turner made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2008 as the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah, and returned again in 2016. His discography includes Bach’s BWV 76 with Emmanuel Music, Praetorius’s Christmas Vespers with Apollo’s Fire, and Kapsberger’s Apotheosis with Ensemble Abendmusik.
Turner is currently on the voice and early music faculty at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, and previously served as Director of Choral Activities at Phillips Exeter Academy from 2006 to 2012. Between 2001 and 2010 Turner was Music Director of the Concord Chorale and Chamber Orchestra. He has served as Assistant Director of Choral Activities at the University of Rhode Island, Interim Director of Choral Activities at Plymouth State University, and Music Director of the Concord Chorus.
Raised in El Paso, Texas, Turner holds degrees from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and Boston Conservatory.