Ryan Nelson

RYAN T. NELSON (co-founder) is a Lecturer in Music Theatre for the School of Communication at Northwestern University and Music Director for Northwestern’s Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts. He also serves as Music Supervisor for the American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) and the famed “Waa-Mu” show. Ryan is the Resident Music Director at Chicago’s Marriott Theatre, where he has music directed dozens of productions, including the world premieres of October Sky, Hero, Andrew Lloyd Webber: Now And Forever and For The Boys. In 2016, Ryan won the Jeff Award for Music Direction for Man of La Mancha, and his work on A Chorus Line and The Light in the Piazza at the Marriott were both recognized with Jeff Award nominations for excellence in Chicago theatre. Ryan has also conducted and orchestrated productions at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and the Asolo Repertory Theatre (Sarasota, Florida).

He has conducted the Nashville Symphony, the Winnipeg Symphony, the Regina Symphony, the Anchorage Symphony, the Denver Pops, and the Las Vegas Philharmonic.  He has been on the faculty of Northwestern University for nineteen years, formerly as an Assistant Professor of Music in Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music where he conducted the Contemporary Music Ensemble, was co-director of New Music Northwestern and conducted the Symphonic Band. As a wind conductor has conducted dozens of honors bands and adjudicated band festivals around the world. 

He received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Duquesne University, where he studied conducting with Robert Cameron and Brady Allred. His Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in conducting are from the University of North Texas, where he was a student of Eugene Migliaro Corporon.