Ryan James Brandau

Artistic Director

Among audiences, Ryan James Brandau is best known for dynamic and uplifting choral and orchestral performances, whether he himself is at the podium or his arrangements on the program. The New York Times hailed his recent debut appearance at Trinity Church Wall Street, conducting its iconic annual Messiah, “the gold standard” against which others “paled in comparison.” For both expert and new listeners, his interpretations are at once resplendent with the past and resonant with the present, earning the Times’ praise as “urgent and eloquent,” “burning and gladdening,” “intimate, alternately sober and joyous,” and, most essential to Ryan’s pervasive artistic intent, “modest yet monumental.”

Among musicians, he is perhaps better known for a clarity of vision and mastery of craft that is uncommonly equaled by a commitment to collaboration with vocalists and instrumentalists — a potent alchemy that not only produces music of the highest level, but invites participation in his music-made joy.

In New York City, he is the founder and Director of Res Facta, a vocal ensemble bringing together 14 of the city’s finest professional vocalists, and the longtime Artistic Director of Amor Artis, a chamber choir and Baroque orchestra, which specializes in bridging the Renaissance and Baroque to the present day. He is also the Artistic Director of the symphonic chorus and orchestra, Princeton Pro Musica — winner of the 2021 American Price for choral performance — and Monmouth Civic Chorus, both in New Jersey. In addition to leading his own ensembles, he has prepared choruses for the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Phildelphia Orchestra, and New Jersey Symphony.

As a choral and orchestral arranger, Ryan Is equal parts artistic innovator and technical practitioner, taking pride in works that are as rewarding for musicians as they are for audiences. His expansive holiday repertoire in particular is lauded as “inventive,” “unfailingly gratifying,” and “in a class by itself” by the directors, vocalists, and instrumentalists of the many volunteer to professional ensembles that showcase their best through his well-crafted arrangements and meticulous orchestrations.

And as a lover and scholar of music, he is committed to collaboration with emerging artists and educational organizations, cross-cultural exploration, and building bridges for new audiences by presenting classical works in dialogue with contemporary themes and new music.

Ryan has taught and conducted at Westminster Choir College, Santa Clara University, and Smith College. He holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Yale School of Music, a Master of Philosophy in Historical Musicology from Cambridge University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Princeton University. He lives in New York City with his husband, Ian, and his dog, Tux.