Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and Choir, Dr. Nicholas Milton AM has established an outstanding reputation for his charismatic stage presence and powerful interpretations of an extensive repertoire spanning both concert and opera. Renowned for his dynamic conducting style and compelling musical integrity, he continues to attract international attention as one of the most outstanding Australian conductors working today. Appointed as Chief Conductor of the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra in 2001, the orchestra’s reputation during his remarkable tenure has grown dramatically and is now regularly recognised as Australia’s finest community orchestra.
In 2014 Nicholas was appointed as General Music Director and Chief Conductor of the State Opera House (Saarländisches Staatstheater) in Saarbrücken, Germany, where he conducts approximately sixty performances each season. 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.
Appointed as the youngest-ever concertmaster of a major Australian orchestra, Nicholas enjoyed a distinguished career as a violinist and chamber musician before dedicating himself exclusively to conducting. As Concertmaster and Associate Conductor of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Violinist for eight years with the renowned Macquarie Trio, he went on to serve as General Music Director of the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra from 2004 until 2010. Since 2007, he has been Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and is also Chief Conductor of the Innviertler Symphony Orchestra (Austria).
Nicholas studied with Harry Curby at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Michigan State University and at the Juilliard School. He holds four Master degrees in Violin, Conducting, Music Theory and Philosophy, and has a Doctorate in Music from the City University of New York. Mentored at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki by the legendary Jorma Panula, he 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 2001, Nicholas was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal for Service to Australian Society and the Advancement of Music. He went on to receive the 2014-15 College of Music Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University and in 2015 was invited by the Australian Prime Minister to join the Australia-Germany Advisory Group.
In 2016, Nicholas was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo, for his recording with Joseph Moog of Piano Concertos by Grieg and Moszkowski and was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for Significant Service to the Arts as Musician, Conductor and Artistic Director.