BBC Music Magazine speaks to the English conductor Nicholas Collon, founder of the groundbreaking Aurora Orchestra, about his musical loves, from the Bach piano pieces he learnt as a child to chamber masterpieces by Mendelssohn and haunting English choral works.
Nicholas Collon’s musical upbringing was wonderfully varied, including a spell as a viola player in the National Youth Orchestra before a scholarship to Cambridge University saw him hone his skills in the organ loft at Clare College. At Cambridge, he met Robin Ticciati, with whom he would go on to set up the London-based Aurora Orchestra in 2004. The orchestra has gone on to win huge acclaim for its inventive approach and livewire performances, both in concert and on disc. Its performance of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique at the BBC Proms, played entirely from memory, was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the 2019 season.
Nicholas talked to BBC Music Magazine’s deputy editor Jeremy Pound over Zoom in the midst of lockdown and shortly after the Aurora Orchestra had released Music of the Spheres, its new disc of works by Mozart, Dowland, Thomas Adès, Max Richter and David Bowie.
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Listen to Nicholas’s musical choices here: