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.
Dr Nicholas Milton AM is the Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, and has been the musical force behind an extraordinary period of success in the CSO’s history. Since 2007, Milton’s direction has seen the orchestra break all previous box office records and establish itself as one of the most successful and dynamic orchestras in the nation. Renowned for his charismatic stage presence, powerful interpretations and compelling musical integrity, Milton continues to attract international attention as one of the most outstanding Australian conductors working today.
Nicholas Milton is also Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Göttingen Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the North German Philharmonic Orchestra, and Artistic Director of the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra in Sydney.
The only Australian conductor ever nominated for a Grammy award, Milton’s concert engagements include appearances with leading orchestras throughout Germany, Austria, Switzerland, England, Hungary, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Asia. He was General Music Director and Chief Conductor of the State Opera House in Saarbrücken, Germany (Saarländisches Staatstheater) from 2014 until 2018, where his repertoire included Tannhäuser, Der fliegende Holländer, Salome, Peter Grimes, Katja Kabanova, La Bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Falstaff, Un ballo in maschera, Hänsel und Gretel, Don Giovanni, and Die Zauberflöte. He has also frequently conducted at the Volksoper in Vienna and at the Komische Oper in Berlin, as well as in Dortmund, Leipzig, and Innsbruck. In 2018 he made his debut at the Deutsche Oper Berlin with Così fan tutte and returned to Vienna for La Traviata. Next season he returns to the Deutsche Oper in Berlin and he will also conduct La Bohème and Madama Butterfly for Opera Australia in Sydney.
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 and Associate Conductor of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Violinist, for eight years, of Australia’s renowned Macquarie Trio. He has served as Chief Conductor of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, Chief Conductor of the Innviertler Symphonie Orchester (Austria) and General Music Director of the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra.
Nicholas studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Michigan State University, Mannes College of Music and the Juilliard School. He holds four Master degrees (Violin, Conducting, Music Theory and Philosophy) and a Doctoral degree in Music from the City University of New York. Mentored at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki by the legendary Jorma Panula, he also served as Assistant Conductor to Mariss Jansons with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Nicholas won the 1999 Symphony Australia Conductor of the Year Competition and was a prize-winner in the Lovro von Matačić International Competition of Young Conductors. In 2015 he received College of Music Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University and was invited by the Australian Prime Minister to join the Australia-Germany Advisory Group. In 2016 Dr. Milton was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for Significant Service to the Arts as Musician, Conductor and Artistic Director.
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.