The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (FRSO) has today announced the appointment of Nicholas Collon as its new Chief Conductor, taking up his position in Autumn 2021, conducting a minimum of 10 weeks a season for an initial contract of three years with an additional two-year option.
Collon will take the reins from Hannu Lintu, who has been Chief Conductor of the FRSO since 2013, and will be the first non-Finnish conductor to take on the role.
Nicholas Collon says: ‘I could not be more delighted to be joining the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra for this next chapter of the orchestra’s life. I first conducted the FRSO in 2017 and was blown away by its technical brilliance, astonishing precision, passion, and musical depth. The sincerity of its approach to all styles and periods of music is truly thrilling to witness.
I look forward to sharing in the FRSO’s amazing musical culture, from the music of Sibelius and his modern Finnish counterparts, to the musicians’ astonishing professionalism, skill and thirst for experimentation when tackling all shapes and sizes of challenging repertoire. Together, I hope we can build on this enviable position, and continue to expand the orchestra’s horizons, lighting a beacon for what a 21st century symphony orchestra can and should be.’
The FRSO is based at the Helsinki Music Centre and is the orchestra of the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle). They regularly give concerts throughout Europe and further afield. The FRSO’s mission is to produce and promote Finnish musical culture and they are dedicated to showcasing the great Classical-Romantic masterpieces as well as premiering new work commissioned by Yle. The Chief Conductor of the FRSO is always chosen by the musicians and the role has previously been held by 8 Finnish conductors; Toivo Haapanen, Nils-Eric Fougstedt, Paavo Berglund, Okko Kamu, Leif Segerstam, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Sakari Oramo.
Collon returns to conduct the orchestra on 17 May 2019: Julian Anderson Fantasias, Ravel’s G major Piano Concerto with soloist Fazil Say, and Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique. Before taking up his official role, he will again lead the orchestra in concerts on 14 and 15 February 2020, conducting Symphonic Dances by Kalevi Aho and Rachmaninov, coupled with Thomas Adès’ Violin Concerto, soloist Pekka Kuusisto. All FRSO’s concerts are live streamed and available to watch online, including his 2017 visit (Adès, and Prokofiev’s 5th Symphony): https://areena.yle.fi/1-3854917
Born in London, Nicholas Collon studied at Clare College, Cambridge, and is known for presenting a vast range of repertoire, from Baroque to contemporary. Collon takes on this new position in addition to his ongoing roles as Founder and Principal Conductor of Aurora Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne. He remains Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor at the Residentie Orkest in The Hague until his current contract expires at the end of July 2021, seeing the orchestra into its newly-built concert hall in the centre of the city. He receives guest invitations from orchestras such as the DSO Berlin, Danish National Symphony, Philharmonia, and Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and his 2018/19 season includes debuts with the Orchestre National de France, Oslo Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony. He has conducted the premiere of over 200 new works.
Collon founded Aurora Orchestra in 2005. Under his artistic direction, the orchestra has quickly become one of Europe’s leading chamber orchestras, critically acclaimed for world-class performances, adventurous programming and creative concert formats. Aurora is the Resident Orchestra at Kings Place and Associate Orchestra at Southbank Centre and has appeared at the BBC Proms every year since 2010, where it has performed entire symphonies from memory. In its ‘Orchestral Theatre’ series at Southbank Centre, Aurora stages orchestral adventures that span diverse musical genres and art forms, rethinking the concert format and offering bold new ways to engage with orchestral music. This Spring, the orchestra tours its most visually striking production to date ‘Music of the Spheres’ to Singapore, Canterbury, Birmingham and London. Aurora and Collon return to the BBC Proms in the last week of the season (12 September), for two performances of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique from memory, in a specially-devised Orchestral Theatre production incorporating elements of design, lighting and choreography as well as Berlioz’s own words about his music.