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Ryan McAdams

  • Conductor


Ryan McAdams press reviews

08.16.12 Rave Reviews for Basinski/Moston "Loops" at Queen Elizabeth Hall

LondonJazz, August 13th
"Review: William Basinski - The Disintegration Loops"

"The 40-strong, black-clad orchestra, under the pin-sharp direction of McAdams, slowly and purposefully built up the intensity from the merest hints of sound with an extraordinary delicacy and clarity that offered a surprising insight in to the lightness of what might have been Basinski's original looped elements...The orchestra's ability to tread such a light path with its flickering shadows in the process of revealing the gossamer tensions in Basinski's composition was a major feat. The beauty of this achievement lay in the response that each of the young players brought to the arranger's vision and the conductor's evocation of that unique environment that constitutes the melancholy, glimmering emotional range of Basinski's composition."

Drowned In Sound, August 17th,
William Basinski and the London Contemporary Orchestra @ QEH

"As conductor Ryan McAdams signals the silence to a close, the room erupts....Across the room, there's a group of people crowded around a screen showing footage of the Closing Ceremony — it seems to be a montage of teary-eyed athletes crumbling with emotion. Right there, that feeling of entitled I-know-something-you-don't-know hits home. While the eyes of the rest of the world were fixed on the Olympic Stadium, a select few of us were privy to something genuinely affecting in its otherworldliness."

MusicOHM, August 13th
"William Basinski @ Queen Elizabeth Hall"

"The stoic performance of the London Contemporary Orchestra was impressive in its precision...the creativity of the orchestration was endlessly impressive...Both pieces played were utterly absorbing despite their formidable length; shimmering melodic figures dissolved into ethereal halos of sound, submerged beneath a sighing low end."

The Quietus, August 13th
"London Contemporary Orchestra performs William Basinski's The Disintegration Loops
Queen Elizabeth Hall"

"It's pretty astonishing. During the final, five-minute silence held by the conductor, my mind goes to involuntary work recapping and distorting what we’ve just heard. By the time we step out into the night, I remember something that sounded like voices."

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05.29.12Terrific Tommasini/NYTimes Review for McAdams' Final NYYS Concert!

New York Times, "Young Players Raise Horns to the Hunt"
Anthony Tommasini, May 28th, 2012
New York Youth Symphony, Carnegie Hall

"[In Mahler's Fifth Symphony], Mr. McAdams drew an energetic and involving performance from the inspired players...Mr. McAdams’s career started taking off while he was with the New York Youth Symphony....He proved himself again on Sunday.

Without a strongly shaped, clearly executed performance, this symphony can easily seem baffling...but Mr. McAdams drew vivid, colorful and often incisive playing from the young musicians. The finale balanced episodes of hurtling power with passages of delicacy and grace...The ovation went on and on as Mr. McAdams singled out players for bows and accepted many hugs."

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05.21.12Jerusalem Post: "Popular Romantics" - McAdams and the Israel Philharmonic with Angel Romero

Jerusalem Post, "Popular Romantics"
Ury Eppstein, May 20th, 2012
McAdams, Angel Romero, Israel Philharmonic

"Such a program of often-heard works can be welcome if the performance is extraordinary. This was indeed the case with 'Sheherazade.' The masterful conducting of the American Ryan McAdams impressively highlighted the work’s abundant tone colors, produced flexible, fresh-sounding tempi that had nothing mechanical about them, never leaving a dull moment, and created immense dramatic tension. Moreover, the orchestra sounded well-coordinated, excellently balanced and transparent and under perfect control. It was like hearing this familiar work for the first time."

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12.11.11New York Times: "A Composer Still Vital in His Second Century" - Fred Sherry and Friends in Celebration of Elliott Carter's 103 Birthday

New York Times, "A Composer Still Vital in His Second Century"
Anthony Tommasini, December 9th, 2011
Fred Sherry and Friends, the 92nd Y

"It also offered the premiere of the major new score he composed last year, 'A Sunbeam’s Architecture,' an inventive, urgent 12-minute work for tenor and a 19-piece instrumental ensemble...The young tenor Nicholas Phan sang with sweet, full sound; rhythmic punch; and impressively clear diction. The excellent conductor Ryan McAdams drew a vibrant performance from an ensemble that featured major artists long associated with Mr. Carter and younger musicians who seemed thrilled to be a part of the evening."

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10.14.11ClevelandClassical: "CityMusic Cleveland with Ryan McAdams and Jan Vogler"

ClevelandClassical, "CityMusic Cleveland with Ryan McAdams and Jan Vogler"
Mike Telin, October 12th, 2011
CityMusic Cleveland

"...However, last night this fine ensemble raised their artistic bar even higher, due in very large part to the keen musical sensibilities of guest conductor Ryan McAdams who was making his debut on the CityMusic podium…From the first note to the last, McAdams drew a rich and well-blended sound from the orchestra, in addition to a full range of controlled dynamics: the pianissimos were truly soft and the fortissimos were full but never harsh…this was a concert of musical substance and McAdams and the CityMusic musicians together created musical magic…This was a performance to remember, and the large audience responded with a well deserved standing ovation. Bravo to the musicians of City Music, cellist Jan Vogler, and conductor Ryan McAdams."

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10.12.11Cleveland Plain Dealer: "CityMusic Cleveland Welcomes Distinguished Guests To Open Eighth Season"

Cleveland Plain Dealer, "CityMusic Cleveland Welcomes Distinguished Guests To Open Eighth Season"
Donald Rosenberg, October 12, 2011
CityMusic Cleveland

"McAdams began with the Beethoven [Leonore Overture no. 3], giving the opening pages ample breadth before taking the musicians through an explosive and invigorating journey. The piece tests an orchestra’s control and dexterity, and CityMusic savored the challenges...McAdams shaped the Ligeti [Concert Romanesc] with fine attention to detail and texture...the winds sparkled and the orchestra kicked up its heels to exuberant effect in the finale...The orchestra is as vital in [the Dvorak Cello Concerto] as the soloist, and CityMusic – if somewhat short of strings – exuded hearty spirit and finesse...much of the performance’s strength emanated from McAdams, who was alert to [Jan] Vogler’s every move..."

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09.12.11New York Times: "Contemplation Drawn From Magnetic Tape Flaking Away" - Wordless Music Orchestra 9/11 Memorial Concert in the Temple of Dendur

New York Times, "Contemplation Drawn From Magnetic Tape Flaking Away"
Anthony Tommasini, September 12th, 2011
Wordless Music Orchestra, The Temple of Dendur at the MET Museum

"Musically and metaphorically, it was a powerful piece to reflect on what happened 10 years ago...Mr. Moston’s orchestrated version of [Basinski's "The Disintegration Loops, 1.1"] had an overwhelming effect on the audience that packed the temple on Sunday, with people seated on chairs, sitting on the floor, leaning against walls and standing in the lobbies just beyond the rope lines at the entrances...When the assured conductor Ryan McAdams put his arms to his sides at the end of the 40-minute performance, no one in the audience made a sound. Musicians and listeners joined in a spontaneous period of reflection that lasted nearly two minutes."

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12.07.10New York Times: "Showing the Adults How It's Done," New York Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall

New York Times, "Showing the Adults How It's Done"
Allan Kozinn, December 7th, 2010
New York Youth Symphony, Carnegie Hall, Anthony McGill, Clarinetist

"...when they perform at Carnegie Hall, as they did on Sunday afternoon, they produce a sound that would do an adult orchestra proud.

Ryan McAdams, the orchestra’s 28-year old conductor, framed this first program of the season with a pair of big display pieces, Strauss’s “Don Juan” and Respighi’s “Pines of Rome.” Both demand stamina and agility from the players as well as a conductor with an interpretive imagination strong enough to bring to life the visual imagery within these scores and the discipline to keep them from devolving into streams of effects.

Mr. McAdams drew driven, impassioned playing from the ensemble in Strauss’s dramatic introduction, and painted the long second love scene in languid, supple tempos and soft hues, with fine playing from every section. In the Respighi, the young musicians handled extremes deftly: “The Pines of the Appian Way” dazzled, thanks to finely polished woodwind and brass playing, and “Pines Near a Catacomb” benefited from eerily dark string playing and gracefully turned solo lines..."

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10.26.10Ionarts at Large: Julian Rachlin and Friends in Dubrovnik

Ionarts, Jens F. Laurson, October 25th, 2010
Julian Rachlin and Friends Festival, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Julian Rachlin, Mischa Maisky

"...Even the full bodied, zesty, fleet and energetic Eroica Symphony that concluded the 10th Festival played along...from a very slow Funeral March, that teetering at the grave’s edge for a second before proving capable of a terrific build-up to the light Scherzo to a maximum-contrast Finale, this was simply terrific. For all the credit due to the orchestra, the conductor that Rachlin had pulled out of his hat last-minute for that evening could not be overpraised on this occasion: Ryan McAdams was simply astounding; look out for his name to appear much more often in the future."

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09.14.10Dubrovnik Times: A Masterly Festival Completion

Dubrovnik Times, September 13th, 2010
Julian Rachlin and Friends Festival, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Julian Rachlin, Mischa Maisky
(translated from Croatian)

"The performance [of Beethoven's 'Eroica'] was followed by long, thunderous applause...A supple, soft and powerful performance of 'Eroica' had to impress even the most sophisticated music buffs....a strong, dramatically shaped, magnificent whole...will never be forgotten."

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05.24.10New York Times: A Display of Young Muscle, Flashing New Chops

"On Sunday afternoon the orchestra opened the final concert of its 47th season at Carnegie Hall with an electrifying rendition of Verdi’s Overture to 'La Forza del Destino.' Ryan McAdams, the ensemble’s accomplished young music director, led a taut, dynamic account, with potent brasses, sumptuous strings and expressive winds doing work equal to that of most professional ensembles..."

"The concert concluded with a robust account of Strauss’s “Heldenleben,” with articulate contributions from woodwind players representing nattering critics and a luscious rendition of the rich love theme..."

"I have yet to attend a concert by the New York Youth Symphony from which I have not come away struck anew by the polish and confidence reliably shown by this excellent ensemble..."

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02.07.10La Nazione: Review of McAdams' performances with Maggio Musicale Orchestra

La Nazione, February 7th, 2010
Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Teatro del Maggio
(Translated from Italian):

"...[McAdams had] an excellent relationship with the orchestra and brought off the difficult program with authority of gesture and clarity of ideas. His technical abilities (Il suo bagaglio tecnico) revealed themselves immediately in the Chavez, a naive and rowdy Mexican mural of complex rhythmic requirement which was performed with joyous energy, but especially in the depth and sensitivity with which McAdams was able to collaborate with the great pianist Lars Vogt in the Schumann A Minor Piano Concerto. The performance was at both dreamy and restless built in perfect harmony of purpose."

"The second part of the evening rested on the shoulders of McAdams with the gloomy languor of the famous Swan of Tuonella....and the showy Suite from 'The Firebird' of Stravinsky - performances (pagine) that confirmed the ability of the conductor to obtain a united result from the Maggio orchestra."

"...[the Stravinsky was] a reading of admirable lucidity that received a lot of applause from the insistent crowd that seemed to wish another invitation to Florence for the young American conductor."

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12.01.09New York Times: Young Hands in the Center of an Unforgiving Spotlight

NYYS, Carnegie Hall, 11/30/01
Allan Kozinn

Leonore Overture no. 3: "...vigorous, magnificently electrifying reading."

Gallagher, 'Strife': "...'Strife' challenged the musicians’ flexibility — conceptual as well as technical...but they seemed as much at home in this changeable score as in the Beethoven..."

Pictures at an Exhibition: "...a sharply articulated, thoughtfully shaped performance of [Pictures]. It was the kind of reading that made a listener prize the details of Ravel’s orchestration more than ever, both as a textbook demonstration of orchestral color and for giving this already vivid piano score a measure of depth and shading that Mussorgsky could never have achieved. Mr. McAdams’s contribution here was an emphasis on the music’s extremes of clarity and mystery, delicacy and grandeur..."

"...what you would expect from a full-time, professional adult orchestra...this group outshines some of the adult ensembles that parade across New York stages night after night."

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08.13.09New York Times: Festival of Contemporary Music, Ambition Abounds in Tanglewood’s Exultation Over Contemporary Works

New York Times, August 12th, 2009
Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and Ensembles
Festival of Contemporary Music:

"...John Zorn’s music can be as manic as Mr. Chapela’s, but the work Ms. Thomas chose, “Contes de Fées,” a 1999 violin concerto, is closer to the lithe spirit of Mr. Anderson’s piece. The solo line moves easily between extremes of showiness and graceful, songlike melody, but it also fits tightly into an orchestral fabric that uses a wind machine and plenty of percussion to create the aural imagery of the magical world its title, “Fairy Tales,” suggests..."

"...Ryan McAdams conducted a suitably brash, pulsing performance of Tansy Davies’s “neon” (2007), a septet rooted in a Zappaesque raucousness..."

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08.12.09Boston Globe: Tanglewood Festival Sounds Themes of Diversity and Coalescence

Boston Globe, August 13th, 2009
Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and Ensembles

"...Sunday night’s concert featured varying episodic strategies. On the juxtaposition side, Tansy Davies’s septet “neon’’ offered a rock-influenced, ADHD minimalism; Tanglewood Music Center fellow Ryan McAdams led a pithy performance..."

"...On the second half, Stephanie Nussbaum was a commanding, insinuating soloist in John Zorn’s violin concerto “Contes de fées,’’ that composer’s customary quick-edit collage applied to a spiny musical dialect. It was a fine foil to the slow-dissolve, long-take cinematic sweep of Wolfgang Rihm’s “Verwandlung 2: Musik für Orchester.’’ Madaras, Nawri, and McAdams, along with FCM stalwart Stefan Asbury, were the respective conductors, drawing sharp, uninhibited performances..."

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08.04.09Schenectady Daily Gazette: Stravinsky Hits a Homer

Schenectady Daily Gazette, August 4th, 2009
Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, Shed

Peter Serkin, Soloist

"..From almost a century out, [the Stravinsky Piano Concerto] had nothing fearsome, but sounded like neo-Classicism with vinegar. In no way forbidding, its propulsive energy, nasal wind timbres and zippy rhythms were infectiously popped out by conducting fellow Ryan McAdams..."

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07.21.09Times Union: Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra

Times Union, July 21st, 2009
Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, Ozawa Hall

"Finally Milhaud’s “La Creation du monde” is a gentleman’s idea of early jazz riffs and it received a colorful, enjoyable performance led by Ryan McAdams..."

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07.01.09Berkshire Fine Arts: Tanglewood Off and Running

Berkshire Fine Arts, July 1st, 2009
Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, Ozawa Hall

"The first selection conducted by TMC Fellow, Ryan McAdams was the richly descriptive and bucolic "The Swan of Tuonela" from Four Legends from the "Kalevala," Opus 22. The plaintive voice of the swan was evoked by the gorgeous playing of an English horn by Zachary Boeding. The essence of nature wafted from the surrounding woods and shimmering breezes into Ozawa Hall..."

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06.29.09Berkshire Living: TMC Orchestra Sibelius - The Good Life In The Country

Berkshire Living, June 29th, 2009
Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, Ozawa Hall

"...the conductor-orchestra chemistry became quite apparent during thoroughly committed, often mesmerizing performances led by two young conducting Fellows...In the well-known tone poem "The Swan of Tuonela," Ryan McAdams — music director of the New York Youth Symphony — inspired Zachary Boeding, the English horn soloist, to lyrical heights depicting a majestically gliding swan plying the roiling, dark waters of a river flowing through Tuonela — a mythical isle of the dead."

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03.22.09New York Times: At Carnegie Hall, Through Brahms, Freshly

NYYS, Carnegie Hall, 03/22/09
Anthony Tommasini

"Mr. McAdams, the orchestra’s music director since 2007, is doing essential work."

Chavez, Sinfonia India: "...a breathless account..."

Brahms, Symphony no. 1: "...youthful freshness was the hallmark of the accomplished performance of Brahms’s First Symphony that Mr. McAdams led with this impressive ensemble on Sunday afternoon...beyond the technical confidence, it was the unjaded enthusiasm of the playing that made the Brahms so rewarding."

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02.28.09Columbus Dispatch: Informal Mozart Fest is a Breath of Fresh Air

Columbus Symphony, Palace Theater, 2/27/09
"Mozart Til' Midnight" 6-Hour Marathon

"Innovative programming efforts such as last night's appeared welcomed by the audience and musicians alike. They are just the sorts of things to get people into a concert hall on a cold February night...McAdams, just 27, appears to have talent, a blue-ribbon resume and the gift of gab..."

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11.30.08L Magazine: The Envy Index - 13 New Yorkers Working Way Ahead of Schedule

"Ryan McAdams - Why to Envy Him: The conductor of the New York Youth Symphony has been taken under the flapping, baton-bearing wing of the New York Philharmonic and other big-deal classical foundations in Aspen and Stockholm. While not being groomed as the next American-born conductor (this month: a Wordless Music gig at (Le) Poisson Rouge and then Mozart and Tchaikovsky with the L.A. Philharmonic), he’s in the absurd position of shepherding new talent into the world of classical music, leading young musicians and premiering the work of young composers (like, younger than 26?) with the highly regarded NYYS..."

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08.07.08Denver Post: Aspen Fest Puts Best Foot Forward

"The result was an equal if not bigger hit, with loud cheers erupting from the sold-out audience...unlike the handful of musicians who provided backup last year, Wednesday's two selections were accompanied at the rear of the Benedict Music Tent stage by the Aspen Concert Orchestra, ably led by conductor Ryan McAdams."

(Joint Concert at the Benedict Music Tent featuring Aspen-Santa Fe Ballet and the Aspen Concert Orchestra)

05.27.08New York Times: Glass and Rachmaninoff, With Percussion To Spare

NYYS, Carnegie Hall, 05/25/08

Rachmaninoff, Symphony no. 2: "A warm sound and a shapely approach to Rachmaninoff’s singing themes go a long way here, and Mr. McAdams and his players gave those qualities a high priority. Mr. McAdams’s balletic conducting, with its sweeping gestures and careful, alert cueing, gave the impression that he knew what he wanted to do with this hefty work."

03.21.08Oberon's Grove: "Composer Jacob Bancks '...among the leaves...'"

Jacob Bancks: "NYYS is an extraordinary organization...their new conductor, Ryan McAdams, is unbelievably talented. I have no doubt he is going to be one of the major conductors of our generation."

03.21.08Oberon's Grove: "Kate Lindsey Premieres '...among the leaves...'

"The moody and mysterious opening of 'Central Park In the Dark,' like the settling of a summer evening's mist, eventually gives way to boisterous quotes from "My Ragtime Gal". Kate [Lindsey, mezzo-soprano] sang 'In Flander's Field' which incorporates snatches of patriotic tunes and even La Marseillese and is a timely reflection on the conflicts of patriotism and pacifism. The chorus then joined her for the sort of mini-cantata, 'General William Booth Enters Into Heaven' which has undertones of old-time gospel songs. [Lindsey's] raptly introspective singing of 'Serenity' was breathtakingly linked to the haunting opening phrases of 'The Unanswered Question.' The canny choice of pieces and the musicianship & commitment of everyone onstage made a persuasive statement for Ives....[conductor Ryan McAdams] was very warmly applauded."

03.18.08New York Times: Music In Review - New York Youth Symphony

New York Times Review: "[McAdams] elicited a perfectly eerie, mysterious string sound in ''Central Park in the Dark'' and more of the same, enhanced by a melancholy trumpet line and dissonant brasses, in ''The Unanswered Question"...[He} closed the program with an energetic, rhythmically flexible performance of Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from 'West Side Story.'"

12.11.07New York Times: A New Leader Guides His Fledgling Group

New York Times Review: "a rousing account of Stravinsky’s “Firebird” Suite (1919) offered further compelling evidence that the Youth Symphony is in good hands with Mr. McAdams."

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06.15.07Glimmerglass Opera Announces Winner of Inaugural Glimmerglass-Aspen Prize for Young Conductors

"Glimmerglass Opera and the Aspen Music Festival and School have announced the winner of the inaugural Glimmerglass-Aspen Prize for Young Conductors...Ryan McAdams was selected as the 2007 recipient of the Glimmerglass-Aspen Prize. He joins Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, New York, as an assistant conductor for the 2007 Festival Season, which runs from July 7 to August 28...McAdams will serve as assistant conductor to Anne Manson and Antony Walker."