Conductor

Nicholas Collon


Principal Conductor & Artistic Director, Aurora Orchestra


Nicholas Collon is known as a commanding and inspirational interpreter in an exceptionally wide range of music.  As Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of Aurora Orchestra he has promoted imaginative programming that integrates challenging repertoire of the 20th and 21st centuries with masterworks of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras. In demand as a guest conductor current and future highlights include the Philharmonia, Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Zurich Tonhalle, Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse, CBSO, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, the Hallé and Brussels and Warsaw Philharmonics.

Nicholas Collon North American Debut

08 Aug 2014

Nicholas Collon makes his North Amercian debut this month with Les Violons du Roy at the Domaine Forget International Festival in Quebec. Stepping in for Bernard Labadie the programme features...

Nicholas Collon is one of Petroc Trelawny’s Maestro’s to watch in this year’s BBC Proms

18 Jul 2014

Nicholas Collon is one of Petroc Trelawny’s Maestro’s to watch in this year’s BBC Proms. Here's what he had to say about him:

“The traditional format of overture-concerto-symphony is...

Nicholas Collon's debut with Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse

17 Apr 2014

Nicholas Collon makes his debut with Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse on Saturday 26 April at Halle Aux Grains. An all Britten first half  features the haunting Four Sea Interludes...

Nicholas Collon and Aurora Orchestra sign three album deal with Warner Classics

03 Mar 2014

Aurora Orchestra and Warner Classics announce a new recording contract which will see the orchestra conducted by Nicholas Collon record three albums for international release.  The first disc...

Nicholas Collon debuts with the Philharmonia and Trondheim Symphony

23 Jan 2014

Nicholas Collon makes his main season debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra on 6 February at London’s Royal Festival Hall in a concert featuring Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes,...

Nicholas Collon opens Aurora Orchestra’s 2014 season with ‘Road Trip’

19 Dec 2013

Nicholas Collon opens Aurora Orchestra’s 2014 season with ‘Road Trip’ - a journey across America in the sublime company of Aaron Copland, Charles Ives, and John Adams. Kentucky-born singer-...

Nicholas Collon conducts the BBC Philharmonic in an all-Beethoven concert

27 Nov 2013

Nicholas Collon conducts the BBC Philharmonic in an all-Beethoven concert from the Victoria Hall in Hanley. Alumnus of the BBC New Generation Artists scheme Francesco...

Nicholas Collon and Aurora Orchestra launch 2014 season

18 Nov 2013

A kaleidoscope of great music, inspiring collaborations and richly eclectic programming, Aurora’s 2014 calendar is a concert season like no other. Enriched with swing dance, storytelling, and...

Nicholas Collon debuts with Glyndebourne on Tour

09 Oct 2013

In the composer’s centenary year, Nicholas Collon makes his debut with Glyndebourne on Tour  on 19th October conducting Benjamin Britten’s chamber opera, The Rape of Lucretia.  Fiona...

Nicholas Collon debuts with Welsh National Opera

03 Jun 2013

Nicholas Collon makes his debut at Welsh National opera on 6 June conducting Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream in the UK stage premiere production by Pierre Audi. Further performances 7 & 12 June...

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“Nicholas Collon conducted the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse this evening with unbridled energy and took particular care to channel the fiery lava of his soloist, delivering overall a deeply penetrating vision of this concerto. In Vaughan Williams’ 6th Symphony, Nicholas Collon is once again very engaged and draws from the Orchestre du Capitole a mastery and energy that translate with depth and brilliance this tortured lamentation with its sardonic overtones.”

Utmiol - Apr 2014

“[In Britten’s Four Sea Interludes] he brings out the starkness of the contrasts, the strength of the features; rather Van Gogh than Turner. Thus, after the impalpable atmosphere of “Moonlight”, charged with a moving dreaminess, he unleashes a tempest (“Storm”) that is more realistic than in nature. It was as if huge powerful waves were breaking over the stage. It was the knowledge, precision and passion of Nicholas Collon, enthusiastically applauded by both public and musicians, that were the key to this successful performance of Vaughan Williams’ 6th Symphony.”

Classic Toulouse - Apr 2014

“Yet another outstanding concert for the Orchestre du Capitole. …. the young British conductor, Nicholas Collon, brings out the best in both orchestral players and soloists in works by his compatriots Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Under his baton, the Sea Interludes from “Peter Grimes” and the Violin Concerto by the former, and the 6th Symphony of the latter are dazzling with orchestral virtuosity and full of intensity of expression.”

La Dépêche du Midi - Apr 2014

“Nicholas Collon drew immaculate performances from his players and yet the music was only one element of this ingeniously conceived cross-arts programme. Refreshing the repertoire and broadening appeal are imperative these days. Nobody does it better than Aurora.”

London Evening Standard (Aurora’s “Insomnia” LSO St Luke’s –five stars) - Mar 2013

“A born communicator as well as an innovative programmer and high-calibre interpreter of a wide range of repertoire”

Evening Standard London’s 1000 Most Influential People 2012 - Nov 2012

“…the starry debut of conductor Nicholas Collon. Best known for his work with the Aurora Orchestra, Collon’s work here maintained his characteristic lightness of touch, bringing out the pulsing offbeats of the Overture and bringing the same clarity of drama and swift pacing to the subsequent action.”

The New Statesman - Sep 2012

“In the pit, an auspicious presence: Nicholas Collon, kicking off the new season with his ENO house debut. The Magic Flute is no small ask, but he seemed nothing daunted; the pace never faltered and neither did the sparkle.”

Jessica Duchen - Sep 2012

“Making his ENO debut was the young Nicholas Collon who looks and conducts on the podium like Simon Rattle of decades ago. The two-an-a-half hours fled by and there never seemed a dull moment as it was an unpretentious, flexible, quick and light-textured account totally in keeping with what was happening on stage. The ever-reliable ENO Orchestra played typically well for him.”

Seen and Heard International - Sep 2012

“Making his house debut, conductor Nicholas Collon delivers a lovingly-crafted and joyous account of Mozart’s miraculous score.”

WhatsOnStage - Sep 2012

“Much of the excitement came from the pit. Nicholas Collon was making his ENO conducting debut and enticed well-paced, zestful playing from the orchestra.”

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer - Sep 2012

“But for real colour, listen to what Nicholas Collon conjures up from the ENO orchestra. This is an impressive house debut: Mozart’s score is teased out with impish delight, but never pushed too hard.”

Neil Fisher of The Times - Sep 2012

“Much of its success this time around lies in the conducting. Making his Coliseum debut, Nicholas Collon brings consistent flexibility and momentum to a reading that never for a moment hangs fire.. He also proves responsive to his singers, who together comprise a quality team.”

Guardian (debut at English National Opera) 9.12 - Sep 2012

“The London Sinfonietta’s performance, conducted by Nicholas Collon with poise, passion and precision, created a beguiling dance of breath and bow, with energies overlapping and interweaving in a design as subtle and complex as the filaments of a giant feather.”

The Times (London Sinfonietta George Benjamin Antara QEH) - May 2012

“Aurora’s chief conductor Nicholas Collon guided us through the major works with panache. In a slimfit configuration, what registered most was the superb individual playing — beautifully phrased woodwind in the Siegfried Idyll, and an earthy kick to an Appalachian Spring that felt, as it should, as if the group of musicians had just assembled to dream it up.”

The Times (Aurora Orchestra's Far, Far Away) - Mar 2012

“I was gripped from start to finish. And the music, ranging from Ives’s morose Adeste fideles to the Bach/Webern Ricercar a 6, and from Nancarrow’s seventh Study for Player Piano (on the real thing), to the slow movement of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet, was performed to exquisite perfection. ”

The Times (Aurora Orchestra's Thriller:Automatic Writing) - Nov 2011

“It is hard to imagine performances more assured and expressive than these by Nicholas Collon and the Aurora Orchestra. One of the most ear-catching discs to come my way in a long time.”

BBC Music Magazine ('Seeing is Believing' CD Review) - Oct 2011

“And a suitably historic hurrah, too, for the Aurora Orchestra under Nicholas Collon – whether swinging along to the Stone Age Jazz Song or pounding away thrillingly in the Sacrificial Dance from Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring the young orchestra showed just why it has made such a Henry VIII-sized impact on the UK concert scene. If they get invited back to perform the Rite in its entirety, I’ll be first in the queue.”

Classical-Music.com (Horrible Histories family Prom review) - Aug 2011

“In fact, it all made you feel as though you wished Collon and his Aurora Orchestra would simply take over for all the Proms. This was a truly life (and death) enhancing concert.”

The Times (Horrible Histories family Prom review) - Aug 2011

“The conductor Nicholas Collon had prepared his musicians faultlessly.”

The Guardian - Jul 2011

“As well as all the music enjoying the Sinfonietta players skills and devotion, in the three works he directed, Nicholas Collon, recently appointed as Assistant Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, impressed not only with his command of the pieces and his ability to obtain assured performances, for he also suggested that he was really enjoying what he was doing, his infectious enthusiasm a prime mover in the evening’s success of displaying the eclecticism of British music during the last decade.”

Classical Source - Jun 2011

“The CD is a wonderful calling card for Collon’s Aurora Orchestra. The CD lasts 73 minutes and 23 seconds and they dazzle in every one of them.”

The Times ('Seeing is Believing" CD review) - Jun 2011

“[Adams Chamber Symphony] needs playing, and conducting, of surpassing virtuosity. Collon's demeanour said it all: bendy body language combined with a razor-sharp stick technique. I only hope Adams, who says he's heard so many bad performances of his labyrinthine masterwork, gets to see and hear it.”

The Arts Desk - May 2011

“The symphonies were also very classy. No 27, with its teasing false endings and suave elegance, was full of sly exuberance, while No 31, "Paris", gleamed with hauteur and contrapuntal brilliance. There were a couple of shorter pieces, too – the Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, furtive yet noble, and the dark, obsessive Adagio and Fugue in C minor. Founding conductor Nicholas Collon, has the rare knack of combining self-deprecating charm with great intelligence.”

The Guardian - Mar 2011

“The music was played with exhilarating verve and alertness. The sound of the orchestra had a properly ceremonial swagger, yet this was no old-fashioned, heavyweight stomp through Mozart. Rhythms were clean cut, woodwind solos elegantly shaped and textures beautifully pellucid. This is an ensemble talented and ambitious enough to wrench the initiative from more established chamber orchestras. It’s a generational turnover, and very healthy for musical life.”

The Times (Aurora Orchestra at King’s Place, “Mozart Unwrapped” series) - Jan 2011

“Led by Nicholas Collon, the performances were excellent, enhanced if anything by the informal setting and cabaret-style seating.”

The Guardian (Zappa/Varèse/Boulez, London Sinfonietta) - Nov 2010

“Clear-headed, fresh thinking and a born leader, Collon should soon be casting his own aura over Britain’s major orchestras.”

The Times (Aurora Orchestra at LSO, St Luke’s) - Jul 2010

“Full of surreal pastiches, nightmarish scurrying, frightening eruptions, eerie treble voices and disorientating timbres, it is a highly impressive attempt (admirably conducted by Nicholas Collon) to express in aural terms the turmoil inside a mind that has become permanently unhinged from rational thought, or indeed from its own sense of self.”

The Times (Elena Langer’s The Lion's Face at the Theatre Royal, Brighton) - May 2010

“Collon remains, vigorously conducting fiery and pungent performances. You could grumble about the over-elaborate frenzy of John Adams's Son of Chamber Symphony, but never about the musicians' precision in mastering the score's bopping rhythms or stamina needed to run on the spot.”

The Times (Aurora Orchestra's 5th Birthday Concert at LSO St Luke's) - Mar 2010

“Man, what did we come here for?" came an inquiry nearby just before the conductor arrived. Minutes later, no answer was necessary. Add to the mix...Nicholas Collon's excellent, transparent conducting and the overall effect was exhilarating, and not a little humbling.”

The Guardian (Julian Phillips’ Knight Crew (Glyndebourne Opera)) - Mar 2010

“...this combined with a provocative and arresting staging to make Mahogany's double bill one of the most exciting and electrifying evenings I've spent at the opera in recent seasons....yet even this vibrant vocal quartet was upstaged by the brilliant playing of the Aurora Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas Collon, whose feel for Stravinsky's Russian colourings were beyond reproach.”

Opera Magazine (Walton’s The Bear and Stravinsky’s The Fox', Aurora Orchestra / Mahogany Opera) - Jul 2008

“It's been a remarkable success story. Founded just a little over three years ago, Aurora Orchestra, a sparky, young ensemble specialising in new repertoire and chamber arrangements of symphonies has already reached the threshold of big-name status. The current conductor is the name-to-watch firecracker Nicholas Collon.”

Metro (Debussy/Muhly/Byrd/Ives, Aurora Orchestra) - Jan 2008

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Nicholas Collon is known as a commanding and inspirational interpreter in an exceptionally wide range of music. His skill as a communicator and innovator has been recognised by both critics and audiences alike – he was the recipient of the 2012 Critics’ Circle Award for Exceptional Young Talent and in 2013, for the third consecutive year, he was one of the London Evening Standard’s Most Influential Londoners.  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 Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras.

Having made a very successful debut at the BBC Proms in 2010, Nicholas has been re-invited each successive year with Aurora Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.  With Aurora Nicholas leads the New Moves series, a unique cross-arts residency at LSO St Luke’s which has included critically acclaimed collaborations with dance, film, visual arts and theatre.  Recent highlights include pairing Brazilian capoeira with French baroque music, tango with Bernstein, klezmer with Mahler, and breakdance with Shostakovich.  Nicholas and Aurora have been part of the Mozart, Brahms and Bach Unwrapped seasons at Kings Place and also at Kings Place, a concert featuring the works of Nico Muhly launched the CD Seeing is Believing on Decca to critical acclaim.  Other projects with Aurora include a collaboration with Ian Bostridge and Angelika Kirchschlager in performances of Satie’s Socrate and Britten’s Phaedra, critically acclaimed appearances at the Musikfest Bremen and in 2013 as part of the South Bank Centre’s Rest is Noise festival where programmes included  music by Schoenberg, Antheil, Shostakovich and Britten.

In addition to his work with Aurora, he is in demand as a guest conductor with other ensembles in the UK and abroad. In recent seasons Nicholas has worked with the Philhamonia, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC and Royal Philharmonics, Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre National de Lyon, Bamberg Symphony, Trondheim Symphony, Spanish National Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Academy of Ancient Music, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia and Ensemble Intercontemporain and collaborated with artists such as Ian Bostrodge, Angelika Kirchschlager, Vilde Frankg, Pekka Kuusisto, Francesco Piemontesi, Colin Currie, Steven Isserlis, François Leleux and Nico Muhly.

Future engagements include re-invitations to the Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse, Spanish National Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony, London Sinfonietta,  Ulster Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and debuts with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Zurich Tonhalle, , the Hallé Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic, The Residentie Orchestra, Gurzenich Orchester, Warsaw Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony Orchestra and SWR Sinfonieorchester.

Nicholas made his debuts last season with English National Opera The Magic Flute and Welsh National Opera, Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream and in 2013 he made his debut with Glyndebourne on Tour with Britten’s Rape of Lucretia

August 2014