British conductor Nicholas Collon 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, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Danish National Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Toronto Symphony and many of the leading British orchestras including the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, Halle Orchestra and City of Birmingham Symphony; also with chamber orchestras such as Ensemble Intercontemporain, Les Siecles and Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
Collon and his Aurora Orchestra have been an annual fixture at the BBC Proms since 2010, hugely popular for their staged and memorised performances - and are one of the few orchestras to appear live in the Proms’ truncated 2020 season. They have also become regular visitors to leading European venues such as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Cologne Philharmonie, also touring to the Bremen, Rheingau and Gstaad festivals. Aurora Orchestra is Resident Orchestra at Kings Place and Associate Orchestra at the Southbank, where they have reinvented the concert format with their ‘Orchestral Theatre’ Series.
In August 2020 Deutsche Grammophon released Aurora’s Music of the Spheres recording of Mozart, Ades 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 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, and this season features works by Thomas Ades and Brett Dean.
Opera productions have included Peter Grimes and Don Giovanni for Oper Koeln, Magic Flute at English National Opera, Jonathan Harvey’s 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.
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
"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."
De Volkskrant, January 2018
“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”
Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, October 2017