Meet Interim Music Director Bryan Nies

by Nov 16, 2019

Bryan NiesBryan Nies is the Associate Conductor of the Oakland East Bay Symphony, Principal Conductor of Festival Opera, Lecturer at Stanford University, and continues to conduct engaging modern opera and symphonic concerts. He returned to Festival Opera in 2016, to conduct performances of Mozart’s Die Entfuhrung in a “Star Trek,” performances of Weill’s “Seven Deadly Sins” in 2017, and in 2019 with Carlisle Floyd’s “Susannah.” With West Edge Opera, he conducted Laura Kaminsky’s Transgender opera “As One” (West Coast Premiere), and has conducted Erling Wold’s last three operas, “Queer,” “Certitude and Joy (World Premiere),” and “Uksus.” In 2012, he completed an eight year tenure as Principal Conductor of Oakland Youth Orchestra, which he led on international tours including Costa Rica and Australia and New Zealand during the orchestra’s 40th season. With “superb musical direction,” Bryan conducted sold-out performances of Puccini’s Turandot, Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella, and Bizet’s Carmen at Festival Opera to rave reviews that stated, “Nies is undeniably a talent to watch.” In addition, he has been a cover conductor for the St. Louis Symphony, conducted performances with Opera Idaho (“Cosi fan Tutte” and “Barber of Seville”, and the Oakland Chamber Ensemble. With Eugene Onegin, Bryan made his Opera San Jose debut as principal conductor, after serving as assistant conductor for 12 company productions between 2003 and 2012: Don Pasquale, Die Zauberflote, The Crucible, Un Ballo in Maschera, Manon, La Rondine, Werther, Barber of Seville, Die Fledermaus, La Voix Humaine, Pagliacci, and the west coast premiere of Anna Karenina, becoming the second conductor to perform the work. 

Pursuing an avid interest in all musical genres, Mr. Nies has also been an associate music director with American Musical Theater of San Jose, Theatreworks in Palo Alto, and was on the faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and San Jose State University where he was director of orchestras and opera. He regularly performs in recital and has debuted his first recording “Amour sans ailes: Songs of Reynaldo Hahn” on the MSR Classics label in October of 2017 which was named “Best Lied Recording” 

During the summer of 2002, Mr. Nies was honored with a Leonard Bernstein Fellowship to participate as a conductor at the Tanglewood Music Center. There he conducted performances to rave reviews in the Boston Globe. In addition, he received personal instruction with many leading professional conductors, including, Michael Morgan, Roberto Abbado, Jeffery Tate, Hans Vonk, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, and Grant Llewellyn. 

A native of Chicago, IL, Mr. Nies also holds a B.M. in Piano Performance and a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. He has won numerous piano competitions in the Chicago area including a Gramma Fisher Scholarship to study at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. In addition, he has performed with William Warfield for the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, as their Assistant Conductor. Mr. Nies also served on the staff of Northwestern University’s Theater Department as vocal coach and piano accompanist.