California Institute of the Arts graduate Ryan Bancroft (Music BFA 11, MFA 13) has been named the new principal conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, or BBC NOW.
Bancroft (pictured above) will formally begin September 2020, succeeding Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård, who assumed the role in 2012.
Bancroft first worked with BBC NOW conducting pieces from Beethoven and Weber, and later conducted a contemporary program during the Vale of Glamorgan Festival last May.
“My passion is for the people who play music and the audiences who love it,” Bancroft was quoted in BBC NOW’s official announcement. “That puts me in excellent company here in Wales.”
The trajectory of Bancroft’s career skyrocketed when he won the 2018 Malko Competition (both First Prize and the Audience Prize), a distinction likened to winning the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in the conducting world.
In addition to the €20,000 euro prize, the winner of the Malko Competition earns bookings with 24 international orchestras and two mentorships: the first with strategic planning consultant and former concert violinist Jennifer Spencer, who has two decades of experience managing artists; and the second with Fabio Luisi, principal conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and general music director of the Zurich Opera (Luisi is scheduled to become music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 2020).
Rhodri Talfan Davies, BBC Wales director, describes Bancroft as “a remarkable young talent” in the official announcement. Alan Davey, controller of BBC Radio 3, BBC Proms and the BBC Orchestras and Choirs celebrates the appointment as a “tremendous opportunity for him and this fine Orchestra to explore what an orchestra can be in the 21st century.”
Bancroft was the subject of the cover story for the fourth issue of The Pool, CalArts’ biannual alumni magazine. In the issue, he credited the Institute as being the “single most pivotal institution [he has] ever been a part of.”
During his time at CalArts, he studied the trumpet, in addition to harp, flute, cello, dance and Ghanaian music.
He took up conducting during his MFA program, and continued his conducting training at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Bancroft has gone on to conduct orchestras around the globe, including the Stockholm Philharmonic and the Norwegian National Opera Orchestra.
“Our recipe for spellbinding performances combines our unique sounds and stories with equal parts collaboration, growth and vision,” Bancroft said. “BBC NOW musicians know exactly how to craft inspiring concert thrills with these ingredients. We’re guaranteed to share unforgettable moments together with our audiences. What’s most exciting is that we’re just getting started!’”
– By Taya Zoormandan