British conductor Nicholas Collon is recognized for his elegant conducting style, searching musical intellect and inspirational music-making. He begins as Chief Conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony in August 2021 - the first non-Finnish conductor ever to hold this post. His first season will include a focus on the works of Stravinsky, from Le Sacre to a staged performance of Renard; contemporary Finnish composers, including a spotlight on works by Lotte Wennäkoski; and a festival in collaboration with Thomas Adès. As part of the orchestra’s continuing commitment to the Ondine label, Nicholas will record discs of Sibelius, Adès and Wennäkoski in his first season. He will conduct Mozart Jupiter Symphony and Sibelius Symphony No.7 on a domestic Finnish tour.
The Aurora Orchestra, of which Collon is Founder and Principal Conductor, remains at the heart of his activities. Resident Orchestra at Kings Place and Associate Orchestra at the Southbank, they have reinvented the concert format with their ‘Orchestral Theatre’ Series. In August 2021 they perform Stravinsky Firebird from memory and semi-staged for their 11th visit to the BBC Proms; they also appear regularly at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Cologne Philharmonie and festivals such as Bremen, Rheingau and Gstaad. In Spring 2022 they will tour to major German festivals and halls with soloist Patricia Kopatschinskaya.
Collon continues as Principal Guest of the Guerzenich Orchester, and will also return to the Residentie Orkest, where he was Chief Conductor 2016-2021 (latterly also Artistic Advisor), to perform at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and in the orchestra’s new hall in The Hague. This season Nicholas debuts with the Minnesota Orchestra and with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic at the Concertgebouw, and returns to conduct the Orchestre National de France, Danish National Symphony, Bamberg Symphony and Dresden Philharmonic. In previous seasons he has also appeared with the DSO Berlin, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony and many of the leading British orchestras including the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, Halle Orchestra and City of Birmingham Symphony, and with chamber orchestras such as Ensemble Intercontemporain, Les Siecles and Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
In August 2020 Deutsche Grammophon released Aurora’s Music of the Spheres recording of Mozart, Adès and Max Richter. This followed two critically acclaimed recordings for Warner Classics: Road Trip featuring music by Ives, Copland, Adams and Nico Muhly (winning the prestigious 2015 Echo Klassik Award for ‘Klassik Ohne Grenzen’) and Insomnia with music by Britten, Brett Dean, Ligeti, Gurney and Lennon & McCartney. He has also recorded Haydn and Ligeti with the Danish Radio Symphony, Britten and Delius with the Philharmonia, and several discs of contemporary repertoire with the Hallé Orchestra, He now looks forward to a long-standing relationship with Ondine in Helsinki. He has conducted over 200 new works, including the UK or world premieres of works by Unsuk Chin, Phillip Glass, Colin Matthews, Nico Muhly, Olivier Messiaen, Krzysztof Penderecki and Judith Weir.
Opera productions have included Peter Grimes and Don Giovanni for Oper Koeln, The Magic Flute at English National Opera, Jonathan Harvey Wagner Dream at Welsh National Opera, Rape of Lucretia for Glyndebourne Touring Opera, and Turn of the Screw at the Aldeburgh Festival with Aurora Orchestra. Born in London, Nicholas is a violist, pianist and organist by training, and studied as Organ Scholar at Clare College, Cambridge.
Nicholas Collon appears by arrangement with Intermusica.
Guest conducting engagements
Academy of Ancient Music
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse
Orchestre National de Lyon
National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Spanish National Orchestra
De Volkskrant, January 2018
"The Residentie Orkest has been renewed in all areas…there is now a fresh, alert and eager ensemble….In Stravinsky's Petroesjka a fresh, alert and eager ensemble reveals itself, in which the soloists play with a lot of guts."
Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, October 2017
“It was astonishing how much simply doing away with the score altered the whole way of communicating, between the conductor and his musicians (Aurora Orchestra), as well as within the ensemble. The result was incredible flexibility and constantly evolving dialogue, in which the conductor’s critical role was as a facilitator rather than a decision-maker”