Chief Conductor & Artistic Director

Nicholas Milton

Artistic Patronage courtesy ActewAGL

Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra since 2007, Australian-born Nicholas Milton has been the musical force behind an extraordinary period of exponential growth in the CSO’s history. During Milton’s tenure, the orchestra has smashed all previous box office records and established itself as one of the most fascinating and successful orchestral models in the nation. Though he is in high demand, working with leading orchestras throughout Europe and Asia, Nicholas remains passionately committed to the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and has recently signed a contract extension that will see him continue to lead the CSO through the 2016 season.

“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

Hailed for his dynamic conducting style, energy, passion and compelling musical integrity, Nicholas Milton has developed a remarkable reputation among the younger generation of conductors in Europe. He is renowned for his charismatic stage presence and thrilling interpretations of an extensive repertoire spanning both concert and opera. Concert engagements of recent seasons have included appearances with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, SWR Radio Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, Stuttgart Philharmonic, Dortmund Philharmonic, Staatsorchester Wiesbaden, Staatsorchester Darmstadt, Orchester des Nationaltheaters Mannheim, Staatskapelle Halle, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Bruckner Orchester Linz, Tonkünstler-Orchester, Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice, Odense Symphony, and the China National Symphony Orchestra.


Milton’s success as an opera conductor over the last several years has been meteroic, with debuts in Vienna (Volksoper), Berlin, Leipzig, Innsbruck, Halle and Mainz. In recent seasons he returned to Vienna to conduct Carmen, The Magic Flute and La Traviata, and led La Fanciulla del West in Innsbruck, The Flying Dutchman in Dortmund, Don Giovanni in Leipzig, The Magic Flute at the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz Munich and Die Fledermaus at the Komische Oper Berlin.


Forthcoming highlights include debuts in Linz (Don Pasquale) and Sydney/Opera Australia (Tosca), return engagements to the Komische Oper Berlin (Carmen and The Tales of Hoffmann) and the Volksoper Vienna (Die Fledermaus and Carmen), and return invitations to the Stuttgarter Philharmonic, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Brabants Orkest, Odense Symphony, Taiwan Philharmonia and MAV Symphony Orchestra Budapest. Rounding out Milton’s 2012/13 season are debuts with the NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Graz Philharmonic, Orquesta Filarmónica de Málaga and, as Assistant Conductor to Mariss Jansons, an extensive European and United States tour with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.


An accomplished violinist, Nicholas Milton was Concertmaster of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (1996–2002) and leader of one of Australia’s most successful chamber ensembles, the Macquarie Trio (1998–2005). He served as General Music Director of the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra from 2004 until 2010 and since 2001 he has been Chief Conductor of the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra in Sydney.


Nicholas studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Michigan State University, the Mannes College of Music and the Juilliard School. He holds Master’s degrees in 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 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 Dr. Milton was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal for Service to Australian Society and the Advancement of Music.