British conductor Nicholas Collon is “a born communicator as well as an innovative programmer, and high-calibre interpreter of a wide range of repertoire” - London Evening Standard.
He is Founder and Principal Conductor of the ground-breaking Aurora Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Guerzenich Orchester in Cologne, and Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Residentie Orkest in The Hague until 2021, when he takes up the reins as Chief Conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony – the first non-Finnish conductor ever to hold this post. His elegant conducting style, searching musical intellect and inspirational music-making have prompted guest invitations from orchestras such as the DSO Berlin, Bamberg Symphony, Danish National Symphony and many of the leading British orchestras including the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, Halle Orchestra and City of Birmingham Symphony; also the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Ensemble Intercontemporain and Les Siecles.
In 2018/9 he makes his North American debut with the Toronto Symphony and his Japan debut with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony. He has also conducted the Oslo Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France and Orchestre National de Lyon for the first time, and returned to Oper Koeln for Peter Grimes after his Don Giovanni last season.
Under Collon’s artistic direction, Aurora Orchestra have forged an enviable reputation in the UK and increasingly abroad. As Resident Orchestra at Kings Place they are midway through a 5-year cycle of the complete Mozart Piano Concertos, and as Associate Orchestra at the South Bank Centre they are reinventing the concert format with their ‘Orchestral Theatre’ Series. They have appeared at the BBC Proms every year since 2010, often performing entire symphonies from memory, and have also become regular visitors to leading European venues such as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Cologne Philharmonie
Collon has recorded two critically acclaimed recordings with Aurora 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 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 Magic Flute at English National Opera, Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream at Welsh National Opera, and Rape of Lucretia for Glyndebourne Touring Opera, as well as Turn of the Screw at the Aldeburgh Festival with the Aurora Orchestra.
Born in London, Nicholas is a violist, pianist and organist by training, and studied as Organ Scholar at Clare College, Cambridge.
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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
Trouw, April 2017
Collon lifts the orchestra to a higher technical and musical level than we have heard for many years, with a vivid sense of imagination which he communicates well to the orchestra. His performance was overwhelming – full of brilliance but also great sophistication. This suave Englishman makes music playfully and without ego, reminding me of when the young Rattle came and raised the artistic level of the Rotterdam Philharmonic. The Residentie Orchestra and its public have good reason to be happy with their new acquisition!