Ryan A. Olsen, conductor


Dr. Ryan Olsen is Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at Colorado State University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate music education courses, supervises student teachers, and directs the CSU Concert Choir and Men’s Chorus. Dr. Olsen has been active in all levels of music education in Kansas, Missouri, Arizona, Texas, and Colorado. He is an active clinician and conductor for middle school, high school, and collegiate choirs throughout the US and regularly presents instructional clinics and reading sessions at various state and regional conferences for music educators and conductors. An advocate for early music, Dr. Olsen has edited and arranged numerous pieces from the Middle Ages through the Pre-Classical eras for ear-training, sight-reading, and performance by academic choirs of all levels. He is also an advocate new music, frequently showcasing the music of up-and-coming choral composers as well as living masters in performance and reading sessions. He also works closely with the good people at earthsongs publishing company to share music from around the world with conductors and music educators.

A native of Kansas City, Dr. Olsen received his Bachelor of Music Education degree and Master of Arts in Music degree with an emphasis in choral music education from the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He taught choral music, music appreciation, and music theory courses at the middle school and high school level in the Kansas City metropolitan area. He also worked as music director and conductor in various youth and community musical theater productions, including a production of Jesus Christ Superstar at the International Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland with the theater department at Rockhurst High School. Dr. Olsen received his DMA in Choral Conducting with a cognate in Music Education from Arizona State University. Prior to joining the faculty at CSU, Dr. Olsen taught music education courses and directed the choral program at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.

While at ASU, Dr. Olsen helped form the Early Music Chamber Choir, which specialized in the performance of music from the late medieval era through the early Baroque. This ensemble was invited to perform for the annual conference of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, the English department’s annual Chaucer Festival, and other performances on campus and in the Phoenix area. Dr. Olsen has also been an avid performer in choral ensembles including the Fine Arts Chorale of Kansas City, the Kansas City Symphony Chorus, the Phoenix Symphony Chorus, and the Kansas City Singers.

Dr. Olsen’s major teachers in music education include: Charles Robinson, William Fredrickson, Randall Pembrooke, Marg Schmidt, and Sandra Stauffer. Conducting teachers include: Eph Ehly, Charles Robinson, Ryan Board, Gregory Gentry, David Schildkret, and Gary Hill. His research interests include: mindful conducting gestures and vocabulary through Laban-inspired movement analysis, mindfulness in choral rehearsals, assessment practices in music classrooms, early music performance practice, and editing early music scores for ear training, sight-reading, and performance in the secondary choral classroom.


Choral Conductor, Clinician, Music Educator