Nicholas Collon is establishing an enviable reputation as a commanding and inspirational interpreter in an exceptionally wide range of music. As founder and Principal Conductor of Aurora Orchestra he has promoted imaginative programming that integrates challenging repertoire from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries with masterworks of the Classical and Romantic eras. In addition to his work with Aurora, he is increasingly in demand as a guest conductor with other ensembles in the UK and abroad.
A viola player, pianist and organist by training, Nicholas studied at Clare College, Cambridge. He was awarded the 2008 Arts Foundation Fellowship for conducting, having been chosen from a list of twenty nominated British conductors and was the 2011 classical music nominee in the in the Times Breakthrough Awards at the Sky Arts South Bank Show Awards. He has been appointed the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Assistant Conductor for the 2011/12 season.
With Aurora, Nicholas recently made a very successful debut at the 2010 BBC Proms in a programme ranging from Lully to Shostakovich and John Adams. Other recent highlights with the orchestra include a week’s residency at Kings Place From Vienna to Weimar featuring German and Austrian music from the Weimar Republic, a performance of Schoenberg’s Erwartung to open the new Britten Studio at Aldeburgh and appearances at the City of London Festival, the Snape Proms and the Sounds New Festival. March 2010 saw the launch of New Moves, a unique three-year cross-arts residency at LSO St Luke’s which has included critically acclaimed collaborations with capoeira, film, theatre, tango, and literature.
As a guest conductor other concert work has included the chamber version of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the Orchestra of Opera North, a programme of Schumann, Piazzolla and Stravinsky with Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg and appearances with the London Sinfonietta and Britten Sinfonia amongst others.
His recent operatic experience includes a special project at Glyndebourne conducting a new work, The Knight Crew by Julian Phillips which featured in a major BBC Two series. In addition, he conducted the first performances of Elena Langer’s The Lion’s Face for The Opera Group throughout the UK, including the Brighton and Cheltenham Festivals and Linbury Theatre at the Royal Opera House. He has conducted a programme of Walton’s The Bear and Stravinsky’s Renard for Mahogany Opera, described by Opera magazine’s critic as ‘one of the most electrifying evenings I’ve spent at the opera in recent seasons ... brilliant playing [by] the Aurora Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas Collon, whose feel for Stravinsky’s Russian colourings were beyond reproach’. He has also conducted Mozart’s The Magic Flute, directed by Sam West, in Ramallah and Bethlehem, the first-ever staged opera production in the West Bank and subsequently returned a year later with the same team for performances of Puccini’s La bohème.
This season engagements include a joint collaboration with the London Sinfonietta and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, a London Symphony Orchestra UBS Soundscapes Young Pioneers premiere and concerts with Manchester Camerata and Sinfonia ViVa. He makes his debut with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s Ensemble 10/10 and records works for broadcast with the BBC Symphony and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestras. Also with London Sinfonietta Nicholas will conduct the world premiere of a new work by Colin Matthews. With Aurora Orchestra there is a residency at Kings Place, Mozart Unwrapped, the continuation of the New Moves series at LSO St Luke’s and a recording of works by Nico Muhly for Decca. Nicholas will also conduct a new work, Seven Angels by Luke Bedford for The Opera Group with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and appear at the Bregenz Festival with Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg in a programme of works by Judith Weir. Next season, he will make his debuts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Mozart Players, the Northern Sinfonia and the Münchener Kammerorchester at the Munich Biennale.