Nicholas Collon is Founder and Principal Conductor of Aurora Orchestra. He is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne, and Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Residentie Orkest in The Hague until 2021, when he starts as Chief Conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Prior to founding Aurora in 2004, Nick had a wide-ranging musical training, as viola player, organist, pianist and singer. He met many of the Aurora players as a viola player in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and went on to be organ scholar at Clare College, Cambridge, where he played as an accompanist and continuo player under conductors such as Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Réné Jacobs and Ivor Bolton.
In addition to his work with Aurora, Nicholas is in demand as a guest conductor with other ensembles in the UK and abroad. A regular guest with the Philharmonia, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and BBC Philharmonic, in recent seasons he has also worked with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Zurich Tonhalle; Brussels Philharmonic; Hallé Orchestra; Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse; Danish National Symphony Orchestra; Orchestre National de Lyon; Bamberg Symphony Orchestra; Scottish Chamber Orchestra; Warsaw Philharmonic; Academy of Ancient Music; London Sinfonietta and Ensemble Intercontemporain, and collaborated with artists such as Ian Bostridge, Angelika Kirchschlager, Vilde Frang, Pekka Kuusisto, Francesco Piemontesi, Steven Isserlis and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet.
In opera Nicholas has worked with English National Opera The Magic Flute, Welsh National Opera Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream and Glyndebourne on Tour Rape of Lucretia. A champion of new music, Nicholas 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.
For a full biography visit the Intermusica website.
An impossible task as there are so many to choose from! Here’s a top 5 in no particular order:
- BBC Proms 2014 – what an extraordinary feeling coming off stage after the whole orchestra had memorised Mozart’s 40th symphony; a first for any professional orchestra.
- The well-worn story of when our percussionist knocked over his entire percussion set-up in the middle of a new piece, mid-concert, nearly decapitating our bassoonist, and reducing most other players to tears.
- April 2005 – I will always remember the feeling of pride as I listened to the first notes these wonderful musicians ever played in concert, Hindemith’s Kammermusik No. 1.
- Aurora’s ‘Thriller’ project pushed so many boundaries – never before (and possibly never again) had I been carried around on the shoulders of six players.
- The ‘Horrible Histories’ Prom of 2012 was an extraordinary moment – the genuine feeling that we had probably given thousands (and millions on TV at home) teenagers their first glimpse into the excitement of orchestral music.
Principal Conductor Chair Sponsors: Richard & Helen Sheldon