Assistant Director Major Ryan J. Nowlin joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in August 2010 as staff arranger. He was appointed Assistant Director and commissioned a first lieutenant in July 2014, earned the rank of captain in July 2016, and was promoted to his current rank in January 2020. He was appointed Executive Officer and Senior Assistant Director in May 2018.
With “The President’s Own,” Maj. Nowlin has arranged and composed a variety of music for the Marine Band, Marine Chamber Orchestra, brass ensembles, and various small ensembles. He has written arrangements for an array of guest artists for national events, including a 2013 collaboration with Kelly Clarkson (“America”) and Beyoncé (“The Star-Spangled Banner”) for the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. He also arranged “The Star-Spangled Banner” for Jordin Sparks, which was performed for the nationwide broadcast of the national anthem’s 200th anniversary celebration in 2014.
Maj. Nowlin’s music has been heard in performance at numerous White House events, including receptions, state dinners, and President Trump’s televised Fourth of July South Lawn celebration. His wind band transcriptions have been recorded on four Marine Band albums to include “From the Keyboard” (Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor); “Picture Studies” (David Conte’s A Copland Portrait); “Arioso” (Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue in C minor); and “A Leonard Bernstein Tribute” (Leonard Bernstein’s Scenes from A White House Cantata). Additionally, his Let Freedom Ring was performed at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, and his arrangement of Amazing Grace is regularly included as part of the annual United States Marine Corps Worship Service held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. In 2013, Maj. Nowlin composed the concert march “The Montford Point Marines” honoring the first African Americans to serve in the United States Marine Corps, and in 2018, he wrote the march “Century of Service” in honor of 100 years of women’s service in the Corps.
As Assistant Director, Maj. Nowlin’s responsibilities include conducting the Marine Band and Chamber Orchestra in their winter/spring concert series and summer concerts on the National Mall as well as at ceremonies in the national capital region and at the White House. Additionally, he has conducted the band at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Va.; at The Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago; on the Marine Band’s national concert tours; and on the band’s 2019 tour to Japan.
Maj. Nowlin has served as a producer for the Marine Band annual recordings since 2014, for The Complete Marches of John Philip Sousa recording project since its inception, and for the Emmy award-winning program “New England Triptych” in partnership with the All-Star Orchestra.
Maj. Nowlin is also the unit’s Education Officer. Throughout his career, he has been a dedicated advocate for music education. He currently manages Marine Band educational outreach initiatives such as Music in the Schools, Music in the High Schools, Tour Educational Outreach, and the Concerto Competition for High School Musicians, and has been involved in the Marine Band’s Young People’s Concerts since 2011. Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Maj. Nowlin was a music teacher in the state of Ohio for 10 years, most recently as the director of bands at Brecksville-Broadview Heights City School District.
Maj. Nowlin is a 1996 graduate of North Royalton High School in Ohio. He earned both a bachelor’s degree in music education in 2000 and a master’s degree in music education and conducting in 2004 from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where he studied horn with Herbert Spencer, Jr. and conducting with Bruce Moss and Emily Freeman Brown. He has also studied composition with prolific composer Anne McGinty and has participated in workshops and master classes with several renowned conductors and educators including H. Robert Reynolds, Mallory Thompson, Col. Arnald Gabriel, Harry Begian, and Frederick Fennell.
In addition to his duties with the United States Marine Band, Maj. Nowlin frequently appears as a guest conductor with high school honor bands, community and municipal bands, and with university ensembles across the country. His published music and methods are used in lessons and performances around the globe, and he can frequently be found providing clinics and master classes to student musicians in classrooms around the country.