In April 2018 Ryan Bancroft won both the First Prize and the Audience Prize at the prestigious Malko Competition for Young Conductors in Copenhagen. His conducting, without a baton, impressed the jury, players and audience alike and drew high praise for its natural fluidity, intense focus and the beautiful shaping of the music.
During the various rounds of the Competition, the young American conducted repertoire as diverse as Beethoven, Schumann, Mahler, Ruders, Wagner, Dvořák, Brahms, and Nielsen with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Over the next seasons, as First Prizewinner, he will have 24 engagements with many leading orchestras from Scandinavia, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Canada and China as well as return engagements with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. In addition he will receive mentorship from Maestro Fabio Luisi.
Bancroft recently stepped in to conduct two concerts with the Rotterdam Philharmonic in a programme of Tchaikovsky Sleeping Beauty excerpts and will also conduct the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and BBC National Orchestra of Wales this season, as well as a 10-show run of Sondheim A Little Night Music with the Netherlands Reisopera.
Born in Los Angeles, Ryan Bancroft studied the trumpet at the California Institute of the Arts, alongside additional studies in harp, flute, cello, and Ghanaian music and dance. He then went on to receive an MMus with Distinction from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in orchestral conducting. While studying in Scotland he conducted orchestras such as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the contemporary music ensemble, RedNote. He also played trumpet with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra on many occasions.
Bancroft continued his studies in the Netherlands, where he is now based, and is a graduate of the prestigious Nationale Master Orkestdirectie through the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague. While studying, he was given the opportunity to work with several Dutch and European orchestras including the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Residentie Orchestra, Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, Gulbenkian Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands. His main mentors have been Edward Carroll, Kenneth Montgomery, Ed Spanjaard, and Jac van Steen.
A strong advocate of new music, Ryan Bancroft has performed with Amsterdam’s acclaimed Nieuw Ensemble, assisted Pierre Boulez in a performance of his Sur Incises in Los Angeles, premiered works by Sofia Gubaidulina, John Cage, James Tenney, Anne LeBaron and has worked closely with improvisers such as Wadada Leo Smith and Charlie Haden.
“It was not just the professional Jury who had fallen for the young American... The audience at DR Concert Hall also chose Ryan Bancroft as their favorite in this year's Malko Competition."