The BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales (BBC NOW) has chosen Ryan Bancroft to succeed renowned Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård as its next principal conductor. Bancroft will occupy the position for an initial period of three years beginning in September 2020.
Søndergård, who was BBC NOW’s principal conductor for six years, will be joining the Royal Scottish National Orchestra as music director with tours to China and the US planned for next season.
29-year-old Californian conductor Ryan Bancroft has been in high demand since winning both First Prize and the Audience Prize at Copenhagen’s Malko Competition for Young Conductors in April 2018. Besides previous concerts with BBC NOW last season in Aberystwyth and at the Vale of Glamorgan Festival, he has appeared with the Stockholm Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Norwegian National Opera Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony.
Bancroft was born in Los Angeles in 1989. He studied the trumpet, harp, flute and cello as well as Ghanaian music and dance at the California Institute of the Arts in Santa Clarita. Moving to Europe, Bancroft then studied orchestral conducting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where he also played the trumpet for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. His principal mentors were Edward Carroll, Kenneth Montgomery and Jac van Steen. He is now based in the Netherlands.
‘My passion is for the people who play music and the audiences who love it,’ says Bancroft. ‘That puts me in excellent company here in Wales. Our recipe for spellbinding performances combines our unique sounds and stories with equal parts collaboration, growth and vision.’
Additionally, BBC NOW has announced that the current conductor laureate Tadaaki Otaka, who joined the ensemble in 1987, will continue his work with the orchestra for another three years during Bancroft’s tenure.
Ryan Bancroft in the final round of the Malko Competition for Young Conductors in April 2018