Ryan Taylor was named President and General Director of Minnesota Opera in May 2016, coming full circle to the company where he was a member of its Resident Artist Program in 2000.
Taylor previously served as General Director of Arizona Opera since April 2013, where he undertook a turnaround to stabilize the company’s operations. Under his leadership Arizona Opera saw record-breaking increases in community giving and improved the quality of its artistic product, while reaching new audiences through productions that appealed to the rich diversity of that region. He began his tenure at Arizona Opera in January 2012 as Director of Artistic Administration.
As a Minnesota Opera Resident Artist Taylor sang the roles of Ping in Turandot, George Jones in Street Scene, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Silvio/Baritone in Pagliacci/Carmina Burana during the 2000-2001 season.
Following his Minnesota Opera residency, Taylor continued a 10-year career as a professional artist and operatic baritone. He returned to Minnesota Opera in 2004 to sing Sharpless in Madame Butterfly in a production directed by Colin Graham. Taylor performed over thirty roles with companies including Dayton Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Carolina, Atlanta Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Wolf Trap Opera Company, San Francisco Opera Center, Seattle Opera and the Bayerische Drei-groschen Oper. In concert, he appeared with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Festival of Song, Napa Valley Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, and the Reno Philharmonic.
Since 2009 Taylor focused on artistic management and administration. From 2009-2013 he served concurrently as Artist Manager and Public Relations Director for ADA Artist Management in New York and also as Manager of Community Development for the Wolf Trap Opera Company, the top residency training program for emerging artists in the United States. He also held posts as General Director of the Berkshire Opera Company, Artistic Director of Singers Beyond Borders and Co-founder of the Southeastern Festival of Song. He has served as a judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Igor Gorin Career Development award for the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona.
In 2008, he made his directorial debut for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra with a semi-staged multimedia concert performance of Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land. He has subsequently directed performances of Il barbiere di Siviglia and Roméo et Juliette.
As a producer, Taylor has presented over fifty distinct programs of recital, concert, oratorio, ballet and opera. His producing partners have included the Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta Boy Choir, Bar Harbor Music Festival, Barrington Stage Company, Bryan Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Dallas Museum of Art, Emily Dickinson Museum, Michael O’Neal Singers, New York Festival of Song, the Phillips Collection, Shakespeare Dallas, Trinity Artist Series of New Orleans, Tucson Desert Song Festival, and Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. These performances earned Taylor a reputation for entertaining audiences while honoring classical vocal traditions.
As a consultant, guest lecturer and educator, Taylor has collaborated with OPERA America, the Lexington Philharmonic, Kentucky Opera, Emory University, Southern Methodist University, University of Texas-Dallas, Arizona State University, University of Louisville, Minnesota Opera Resident Artist Program, Arizona Opera Studio Artist Program, Kent State University, Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, Georgia State University, Kentucky Opera Studio Artist Program, Fletcher Opera Institute at the North Carolina School of the Arts, University of Minnesota-Duluth, Seagle Music Colony, TCU/Fort Worth Opera Institute, Wolf Trap Opera Company, University of Arizona and Wright State University.
A native of Atlanta, Taylor earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Music History from the University of the South. He has a Master’s degree in Vocal Performance from San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Photo by Keitaro Harada.