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 Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Bamberg Symphony, Danish National Symphony and many of the leading British orchestras including the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, The Hallé and City of Birmingham Symphony; also the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Ensemble Intercontemporain and Les Siecles. Last season he made his North American debut with the Toronto Symphony and his Japan debut with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, also conducting the Oslo Philharmonic and Orchestre National de France for the first time.
Together with his Aurora Orchestra he formes the centrepiece of the 2019 BBC Proms Berlioz celebrations, conducting a staged and memorised performance of the Symphonie fantastique at the Royal Albert Hall, broadcast on BBC Four. Appearing at the Proms every year since 2010, Aurora Orchestra have also become regular visitors to leading European venues such as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Cologne Philharmonie, returning to both this season and touring to the Bremen, Rheingau and Gstaad festivals. Aurora Orchestra is Resident Orchestra at Kings Place and Associate Orchestra at the Southbank, where they are reinventing the concert format with their ‘Orchestral Theatre’ series. In May 2019, the series featured a programme of Mozart and Max Richter entitled 'Music of the Spheres,' subsequently recorded for release on Deutsche Grammophon.
In the 19/20 season Collon debuts with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and Frankfurt Radio Symphony, and returns to the Finnish Radio, Danish National, Orchestre National de Lyon, Dresden Philharmonic and the Hallé. After conducting Strauss Alpine Symphony with the Guerzenich Orchestra last season, he returns there for Szymanowski and Bach St Matthew Passion. With the Residentie Orkest he conducts several programmes at the Concertgebouw and performs Bruckner Symphony No.5 at the Amsterdam Muziekgebouw Bruckner festival.
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. 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 Adès and Brett Dean.
Opera productions have included Britten Peter Grimes and Mozart Don Giovanni for Oper Koeln, Mozart The Magic Flute at English National Opera, Jonathan Harvey Wagner Dream at Welsh National Opera, Britten Rape of Lucretia for Glyndebourne Touring Opera, and Britten 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.
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