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Chief Conductor & Artistic Director

Chief Conductor & Artistic Director


“One of the great pleasures of being closer to Canberra’s cultural life over the last few years has been witnessing the way the Canberra Symphony Orchestra has grown. I worked with Nicholas Milton when he was Concertmaster of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and I was directing the Adelaide Festival: what a pleasure it has been to return to Canberra and see the orchestra here flourish under his energetic and astute artistic leadership. It is no exaggeration to say that especially under his baton the orchestra equals the best in Australia.”

Robyn Archer AO

Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra since 2007, Nicholas Milton has been the force behind an extraordinary period of growth and success in the CSO’s history.  During his tenure, the orchestra has consistently broken all previous box office records and reinforced itself as the leading artistic organisation of the ACT and one of the most successful orchestras in the nation.

Nicholas Milton has established an enviable reputation as one of the most outstanding Australian conductors working today.  He continues to attract international attention for his charismatic stage presence, dynamic conducting style and compelling musical integrity that is demonstrated across an extensive repertoire.

Appointed as the youngest-ever concertmaster of a major Australian orchestra, Nicholas Milton enjoyed a distinguished career as a violinist and chamber musician before dedicating himself exclusively to conducting. He was Concertmaster of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, and Violinist of Australia’s renowned Macquarie Trio.  He served as General Music Director of the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra from 2004 until 2010, has been Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra (Sydney) since 2001, and Chief Conductor of the Innviertler Symphony Orchestra (Austria) since 2009.

Milton studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Michigan State University and at the Juilliard School and holds Master degrees in Violin, Conducting, Music Theory and Philosophy, and a Doctorate in Music from the City University of New York.  He was mentored at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki by the legendary Jorma Panula.

Currently, among his numerous other roles, Nicholas Milton is General Music Director and Chief Conductor of the State Opera House (Saarländisches Staatstheater) in Saarbrücken, Germany, where he conducts approximately fifty performances each season.  His current productions include The Flying Dutchman, Peter Grimes, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Falstaff, Un ballo in maschera, Hänsel und Gretel, Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute. Also a regular guest at several leading opera houses, he has appeared for six consecutive seasons as conductor at the Volksoper in Vienna (La traviata, Carmen, Hänsel und Gretel, Die Fledermaus, The Magic Flute) and at the Komische Oper in Berlin (The Tales of Hoffmann, Carmen, Die Fledermaus). Other recent productions include The Flying Dutchman in Dortmund, Don Giovanni in Leipzig, The Girl of the Golden West (La Fanciulla del West) and The Magic Flute in Innsbruck, Don Pasquale in Linz, Carmen in Mainz, Tosca in Sydney, Die Fledermaus in Stuttgart, and The Magic Flute in Munich.

Concert engagements include appearances with leading orchestras in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, England, Hungary, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Asia, among them, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg and Radiophilharmonie Hannover, SWR Radio Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, Stuttgart Philharmonic, Dortmund Philharmonic, Staatsorchester Wiesbaden, Staatsorchester Darmstadt, Orchester des Nationaltheaters Mannheim, Staatskapelle Halle, Bremen Philharmonic, Philharmonisches Orchester Heidelberg, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Philharmonisches Orchester Freiburg, Bruckner Orchester Linz, Tonkünstler-Orchester, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Sinfonia Varsovia, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice, Orchestre de Picardie, MAV Orchestra Budapest, Odense Symphony, China National Symphony Orchestra and the Taiwan Philharmonic. In 2013, he served as Assistant Conductor to Mariss Jansons on an extensive European and United States tour with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.   Nicholas Milton’s discography includes around 50 CD recordings.


1999: winner of the Symphony Australia Conductor of the Year Competition, and prize-winner in the Lovro von Matačić International Competition of Young Conductors.

2001: awarded the Australian Centenary Medal for Service to Australian Society and the Advancement of Music.

2014-15: College of Music Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University.

2015: Invited by the Australian Prime Minister to join the Australia-Germany Advisory Group.

2015: Nominated from a 2016 Grammy Award in the category, Best Classical Instrumental Solo, for his recording with Joseph Moog of Piano Concertos by Grieg and Moszkowski.

2016: named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for Significant Service to the Arts as Musician, Conductor and Artistic Director.