Ryan Ross – Principal Conductor
Conductor Ryan Ross is the Music Director for the Allen Philharmonic Orchestra, a professional symphony orchestra in Texas, as well as Director of Orchestras at Plano West Senior High School. Previously, he served in several conducting posts, including four seasons as Artistic Director and Conductor for the Dallas Festival of Modern Music and its resident ensemble Ars Nova Dallas, five years as Music Director for the East Texas Youth Orchestra, and several seasons as Cover Conductor for the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra.
A consummate advocate for music education, Ross has taught music at the elementary and secondary levels. On four occasions, his orchestras have been named state champions in the Texas Honor Orchestra competition, they‘ve been named national winners in both The American Prize and National Orchestra Honors competitions, and in 2018, the Plano West Orchestra played an invitational performance at The Midwest Clinic in Chicago. He is particularly pleased that over two dozen of his students have gone on to careers in music.
Ryan Ross frequently guest conducts and clinics across America. Prior engagements include dozens of all-region and district honor orchestras throughout Texas as well as clinics and concerts in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Alaska, Nevada, and Oregon. For the 2019-2020 season, he will guest conduct the Arkansas South High School Honor Orchestra, the Clark County (Nevada) High School Honor Orchestra, and several all-region orchestras in Texas. This summer, he will again conduct and serve on the faculty of the University of Texas – Arlington’s orchestra camp.
Ross holds degrees from the University of Illinois and Texas Tech University, studying conducting with Donald Schleicher and Gary Lewis. He has had further study with major pedagogues in the field, including Marin Alsop at the Cabrillo Festival, Gustav Meier, Larry Rachleff, Jeff Grogan, Larry Livingston, and Kenneth Woods. Ryan Ross resides in Plano, TX with his wife Christy. Their son, Declan, was born on Leap Day, 2016.
Rusty King – Choral Director
Rusty’s background and experience provides outstanding opportunities for the chorus members and our audience to enjoy choral music at its best. Rusty is the Minister of Music at First United Methodist Church of Allen. He holds a degree in Sacred Music and Vocal Choral Conducting from Centenary College and has been a music minister since 1979 directing major choral works that include Schubert’s Mass in G, Handel’s Messiah, Rutter’s Requiem, and Vivaldi’s Gloria.
An active musician all his life, Rusty was a member of the Centenary College Choir. Rusty’s father, a Director of Music in Florida, encouraged him to experience what many say is the pinnacle of accomplishments for choral members– to work under Robert Shaw. Robert Shaw was an American conductor most famous for his work with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Rusty auditioned, won a place, and performed the Berlioz Requiem with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at Carnegie Hall, a concert that was audited by the late David R. Davidson.
Voice is not his only musical gift. Rusty taught himself to play guitar and learned, by ear, the songs of Dan Fogelberg, The Eagles, and others. His father gave him the book, Christopher Parkening Classical Guitar Method, Volume 1, and a new chapter in the life of guitar music opened to him. In his junior year in college, Rusty had the opportunity to take lessons from classical guitarist, Nghe Pham, and actually play for Christopher Parkening who is celebrated as one of the world’s preeminent virtuosos of the classical guitar.
Rusty did not abandon the music of The Eagles or Dan Fogelberg as he has formed and played in bands over the decades. His most recent is the band Connections adding the music of the Doobie Brothers, Chicago and James Taylor and others when performing throughout the metroplex for audiences while raising money for charity. Connections played in Allen to raise money for relief efforts in Haiti in 2010. Rusty was invited to attend the Dan Fogelberg Memorial Weekend in Peoria, Illinois at the end of August of that same year. Fogelberg’s widow, Jean, found the Connections band tribute to Dan Fogelberg’s music on YouTube and was thrilled to learn that his music was being performed in communities for good causes.
Popular with choral members and audiences alike, Broadway musicals are also part of Rusty’s resume. Godspell, Oklahoma, Fiddler on the Roof, Annie Get Your Gun, Carousel, and The Sound of Music are some of the wonderful productions he has directed.
Music makes the universal connection to everyone and the ASC looks forward to this season and beyond to be involved in exciting, challenging, and wonderful opportunities to sing. We invite you to be part of this!!!
Ben Turner – Assistant Director
Ben Turner is the Assistant Director for the Allen Symphony Chorus and currently serves as Director of Music Ministries at Suncreek United Methodist Church in Allen, Texas. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music in Choral Conducting degrees from Mississippi College. While at Mississippi College, Ben studied conducting with Dr. James M. Meaders and Dr. Craig Young. Prior to his move to Texas, Ben served as Director of Music at Ogden Baptist Church (Bentonia, MS), New Zion Baptist Church (Crystal Springs, MS), and Crossgates United Methodist Church (Brandon, MS).
While at Crossgates UMC, Ben created a concert series that included collaborations with notable composers and artists such as James Mulholland, Tim Zimmerman and the King’s Brass, and Mark Hayes. His Chancel Choir accepted invitations to sing as part of the Ordination Service during the 2013 Mississippi Annual Conference of the United Methodist church and Faure’s Requiem in New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall (2015).
Turner’s work has continued in Allen, Texas. Under his direction, the Chancel Choir of Suncreek UMC accepted an invitation to perform Durufle’s Requiem with the Allen Symphony Chorus in The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. (2018). His youth choir, Cantate, has toured throughout the U.S. including stops in New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Memphis, Nashville, and Savannah.
Ben’s professional memberships include the Board of Directors for the Dallas Chapter of Chorister’s Guild, Choristesr’s Guild, and the American Choral Directors Association. Ben currently resides in McKinney, Texas with his wife, Audra.