Nicholas Snowman OBE

3 March 2023

A man wearing a purple shirt smiles at the camera, with his arms open.

All of us at Aurora are deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of Nicholas Snowman OBE earlier this week.  

Nicholas was a towering figure in the British and wider European arts landscape. His innumerable contributions to classical music include co-founding the London Sinfonietta and Ensemble Intercontemporain, and leadership roles at the Southbank Centre, Glyndebourne, Opéra national du Rhin in Strasbourg, IRCAM and the Pompidou Centre in Paris.  Later in life he remained energetically involved in a number of non-executive roles, including as a Trustee of Aurora until last year.  

At Aurora Nicholas played an important role in helping us realise some of the orchestra’s most ambitious projects. He was closely involved in supporting the orchestra’s 5-year ‘Mozart’s Piano’ series at Kings Place, and in helping the orchestra realise its ambitious orchestral theatre staging of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique.

Dame Liz Forgan DBE, Aurora’s Chair of Trustees, said: “Nicholas was a man of deep knowledge, enormous generosity and a total passion for music particularly of his own generation. Aurora was so lucky to have him as a trustee and one whose commitment did not end when his term was over. Young British and European composers and performers were so lucky to have him as a champion, a mentor and a patron to the very end of his life. We are all in his debt.”

Aurora Chief Executive John Harte said: “Over his long association with Aurora, Nicholas has been a constant source of support, encouragement and guidance. I felt incredibly fortunate to have the benefit of his huge experience and wise counsel as a trustee and friend, and deeply grateful for the energy and enthusiasm he unfailingly committed in the service of Aurora and its mission.  We shall miss him terribly and send our deepest condolences to Margo, Hector and his wider circle of family and friends.”     

Thanks to John Simpson for sharing the lovely photograph of Nicholas we have used on this page.  You can hear Nicholas interviewed by Sue Lawley for Desert Island Discs in 1990 when general director of Southbank Centre here.