Kwamé Ryan was born 1970, in Toronto and is of Trinidadian descent. His UK mentors have included Lynn Binstock and Mark Elder and he studied conducting with Peter Eötvös in Freiburg where he later served as General music director of the Freiburg Opera and Freiburg Philharmonic Orchestra from 1999-2003. Kwamé Ryan has maintained a close association with Peter Eötvös, resulting in his conducting the first French revival of his Three Sisters at Opéra de Lyon, the German première of Eötvös' second opera Le Balcon for Freiburg Opera and their co-conducting of Bob Wilson's production of Luigi Nono's Prometeo for La Monnaie in Brussels.As guest conductor, Kwamé Ryan has worked with orchestras such as the CBSO and the RSNO, as well as the Ensemble Intercontemporain and Klangforum Wien. From 1998 to 1999, Ryan was assistant to Lothar Zagrosek at Stuttgart State Opera, returning in 2004 to conduct their production of Hartmann's Simplicius Simplissimus, aspiring 2006 to conduct the world première of Gérard Pesson's Pastorale.
Ryan made his professional UK conducting debut at the 2004 Edinburgh International Festival with highly acclaimed performances of Honegger's Jeanne d'arc au bûcher. He subsequently returned to the Edinburgh Festival in 2005 as conductor of ballet performances with the Scottish Ballet and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. His London opera conducting debut was in October 2005 with English National Opera, in a production of Salome. Since 2007, Ryan has been music director of the ONBA Aquitaine, for an initial contract of 3 years.