Artistic Directors

Dr. Ryan Beeken

2023 Artistic Director

Ryan Beeken serves as Director of Choral Activities at Wichita State University where he conducts the Concert Chorale and Women’s Glee Club, teaches choral conducting, and oversees the choral area. He received Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Bachelor of Music Education degrees from Drake University and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts Degrees in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University.

Dr. Beeken’s choirs have performed at State, Regional, and National Conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and for state and regional NAfME conferences. Beeken is regularly engaged as a conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. His engagements include over 50 All-States and Honor Choirs in nineteen states, the Czech Republic and Austria, and many invited presentations for symposia across the United States and in Ljubljana, Slovenia. 

Prior to his appointment at WSU, Dr. Beeken served as director or choral studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and taught at Michigan State University. While residing in Des Moines, Iowa, Beeken directed the Drake Chorale at Drake University. He also taught elementary, middle school, and high school music for sixteen years, most recently serving as Director of Vocal Music for Waukee Schools in suburban Des Moines where he lead a program of over 300 students and twelve ensembles to national distinction.

Prior to his appointment at WSU, Dr. Beeken served as director or choral studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and taught at Michigan State University. While residing in Des Moines, Iowa, Beeken directed the Drake Chorale at Drake University. He also taught elementary, middle school, and high school music for sixteen years, most recently serving as Director of Vocal Music for Waukee Schools in suburban Des Moines where he lead a program of over 300 students and twelve ensembles to national distinction.

Jake Runestad

2024 Artistic Director

Considered “one of the best of the younger American composers” (Chicago Tribune), EMMY®-winning and GRAMMY®-nominated composer and conductor Jake Runestad has received commissions and performances from leading ensembles and organizations such as VOCES8, Washington National Opera, the Netherlands Radio Choir, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the National Chorus of Korea, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, the Dallas Symphony Chorus & Orchestra, the Los Angeles Master Chorale. “The Hope of Loving, the first album dedicated to Jake’s choral music, recorded by Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare, received a 2020 GRAMMY® award nomination. In 2019, Jake became one of the youngest composers ever awarded the prestigious Raymond C. Brock commission by the American Choral Directors Association, for which he wrote the ground-breaking, dramatic work “A Silence Haunts Me.”

Known for his refined artistry, and imaginative and inspirational leadership, Jake is in-demand as a conductor with ensembles of all levels. Recent and up-coming conducting engagements include Carnegie Hall, Cadogan Hall (London), VOCES8, the Florida All-State Chorus, and festivals in Canada, Europe, Central America, and across the USA. Dubbed a “choral rockstar” by American Public Media, Jake is one of the most frequently performed composers in the world and has traveled to work with ensembles on all but one continent. Jake Runestad holds a Master’s degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where he studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts.

More at: JakeRunestad.com

Contact Us

If you are interested in participating in the festival with your choir, submit this form or contact us directly at 800-395-2036 or [email protected]