Director of Vocal Ensembles

Ryan Turner is Director of Vocal Ensembles at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he is conductor of the M.I.T. Concert Choir and Chamber Chorus.  

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 stands alone for his masterful interpretations of Bach, Stravinsky, Mendelssohn, Britten and Harbison.  Now in his fourteenth season as Artistic Director of Emmanuel Music in Boston, Mr. Turner has established himself as a sterling conductor and innovative programmer. Praising his performance of John Harbison The Great Gatsby, critics remarked on his “supple, even liquid shaping of phrase, impeccable technique and truly refreshing communication of the intimacy of ensemble playing.”

Passionate and assiduously fluent in the music of Bach, Mr. Turner has conducted the entire cycle of 200 sacred Bach cantatas, as well as the complete masterworks of Bach: St. John Passion, St. Matthew Passion, his own reconstruction of the St. Mark Passion, Mass in B minor and Christmas Oratorio, and the complete Orchestral Suites. In addition, he has led major works by Stravinsky, Mozart, Handel, Britten and Harbison. A champion of new music, Ryan Turner has programmed and premiered the works of composers John Harbison, Matthew Aucoin, James Primosch, Jonathan Bailey Holland, Kati Agócs, Julian Grant, Damien Geter, Zanaida Robles, Yehudi Wyner , Elena Ruehr, and Omar Najmi, including 15 commissions for Emmanuel Music.

As an opera conductor, Mr. Turner recently led acclaimed performances with the Boston Lyric Opera of Frank Martin’s Le Vin herbé and Philip Glass’s In the Penal Colony. At the helm of Emmanuel Music, he has conducted Stravinsky’s Rake’s Progress, Harbison’s The Great Gatsby, Britten The Beggar’s Opera, Mozart’s La Clemenza di TitoDie Enthführung aus dem Serail, and Apollo et Hyacinthus, Handel’s Susanna, La Resurrezione, and Apollo e Dafne, Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins, and Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.

In addition to his work as a conductor, Mr. Turner has appeared as tenor soloist in oratorio, recital, and opera. Some highlights include performances with the Mark Morris Dance Group in Handel’s L’Allegroil Penseroso ed il Moderato, six seasons with the Carmel Bach Festival, and fifteen years as tenor soloist with Emmanuel Music. He made his Carnegie Hall debut as the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah in 2008, with a return in 2016. His discography includes Bach BWV 76 with Emmanuel Music, Praetorius Christmas Vespers with Apollo’s Fire, and Kapsberger Apotheosis with Ensemble Abendmusik.

Previous posts include Musical Director of Opera and Voice and Historical Performance faculty at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, music faculty at Boston University, Music Director of the Newburyport Choral Society. Director of Choral Activities at Phillips Exeter Academy, Music Director of the Concord Chorale and Chamber Orchestra, Assistant Director of Choral Activities at the University of Rhode Island and Music Director of the Concord Chorus.

Raised in El Paso, Texas, Mr. Turner holds degrees from Southern Methodist University and The Boston Conservatory. He lives north of Boston with his wife, soprano Susan Consoli, and their two children, Aidan and Caroline.