Conductor and violinist Ryan Brown is the founder and Artistic Director of Opera Lafayette. Alongside an extensive career as a chamber musician in the US and abroad, most prominently as violinist with the Four Nations Ensemble in repertoire of the 18th century, Mr. Brown has also led and conducted larger works from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries with period instrument ensembles and symphony orchestras across the United States. Most recently he has been acclaimed for his direction of 17th and 18th century French opera with Opera Lafayette in Washington, D.C.
In Washington, Mr. Brown created the Violins of Lafayette in 1994 with the inauguration of a concert series in the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s Salon Dore, an 18th century Parisian drawing room. Since then he has led the organization’s growth from a small chamber ensemble performing in intimate venues to a full 18th century orchestra and opera ensemble performing in major halls, programming and conducting the Washington debuts of important operas by Lully, Charpentier, Rameau, and Gluck, all of which have received extraordinary praise from audiences and critics alike.
In 2001 the ensemble joined with the Redwoods Festival in northern California to present concerts on both coasts under the name Opera Lafayette, and the organization’s debut recording of Gluck’s Orphee et Euridice will be released in late 2002. To this project Mr. Brown brings not only his extensive experience leading the Violins of Lafayette and the Redwoods Festival in programs of dramatic works for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, but also an attention to detail cultivated during his career as a chamber musician with the Four Nations Ensemble preparing their internationally acclaimed recordings of music by Handel, Vivaldi, Caldara, Porpora, Schobert, and Haydn.
Mr. Brown was raised in a musical family in Sonoma County, California, where Opera Lafayette presents its summer festival each August. He holds degrees from Oberlin, Cincinnati, and the Juilliard School, and studied the violin there with Dorothy Delay. He is presently in Gustav Meier’s conducting class at the Peabody Institute of Music, and is a professor and conductor of the orchestra at Gettysburg College. He lives with his family in Washington D.C.