Nicholas Collon © Nick Rutter

Nicholas Collon launches first season at the helm of the FRSO

  • The British conductor begins his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in September becoming the first non-Finn to lead the orchestra 
  • Guest appearances throughout the 2021/22 season include debuts with the Minnesota Orchestra and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra alongside return performances with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Orchestre National de France and Residentie Orkest
  • Collon’s role as Founder and Principal Conductor of the ground-breaking Aurora Orchestra continues with performances at London’s BBC Proms, Kings Place, Southbank Centre and in Germany

British conductor Nicholas Collon will embark on a new chapter in his career this Autumn as he takes up the position of Chief Conductor at the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (FRSO). Collon plans to build on the 95-year-old orchestra’s renowned musical heritage as he works with the players to explore the exciting possibilities of what a 21st century symphony orchestra can and should be. Taking the baton from Hannu Lintu, Collon will be the ninth and first non-Finnish conductor appointed to the role. As he continues to develop his international career, the 2021/22 will also see Collon debut with the Minnesota Orchestra and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra whilst continuing his roles as Founder and Principal Conductor of Aurora Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of Gürzenich-Orchester Köln.

Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (FRSO)

Collon first performed with the orchestra four years ago and is keen to forge a partnership with the FRSO based on mutual dialogue and listening. 

Each season, Collon’s programming will include focuses on three composers – two living, one historic and always including a Finn. In his inaugural season they put the spotlight on Stravinsky fifty years since the composer’s death, performing a wide range of repertoire from Petrushka (1947 version) to his lesser-known mini-opera Renard. The FRSO will also devote a festival to the British composer Thomas Adès featuring premieres of Märchentänze and his song cycle Three Berceuses. A selection of concerts will be conducted by Adès who will also join musicians from the piano for a late-night chamber music performance. A focus on Finnish composer Lotta Wennäkoski will include the premiere of her Harp Concerto and other works including FlounceSedecim and Soie. The orchestra will also premiere the music of another Finnish composer – Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Concertino for Clarinet and Orchestra conducted by Salonen himself – and welcome a host of celebrated violinists during Collon’s first season including Lisa Batiashvili, Renaud Capuçon, Leila Josefowicz, Patricia Kopatchinskaja and fellow Finn, Pekka Kuusisto, who will give the world premiere of Adès’ Märchentänze. As part of the orchestra’s continuing partnership with the Ondine label, Collon will also record discs of Sibelius, Adès and Wennäkoski in his first season. 

Collon opens the FRSO 2021/22 season on 8 September 2021 following a tour with the orchestra to Finnish towns of music by Sibelius and his compatriot Ernst Mielck alongside Mozart. For further information visit: https://yle.fi/aihe/rso-english

The official orchestra of the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle), all FRSO performances in the 2021/22 season will be broadcast on television (Yle Teema), radio (Yle Radio 1) and available for catchup on Yle Areena, making it one of the most frequently televised broadcast orchestras in the world. Concerts will be available to UK viewers at: https://areena.yle.fi/tv/ohjelmat/57-7A4k1J0dd.

International guest appearances 

Collon continues to develop creative partnerships with orchestras across the globe and in 2021/22 will debut with the Minnesota Orchestra (15 & 17 July 2022) and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (13 & 15 May 2022). He will perform Beethoven in Minneapolis and a programme of Sofia Gubaidulina, Tchaikovsky and Colin Matthews’ orchestrations of Debussy in his NRPO appearances in Utrecht and at The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Debuts sit alongside return visits across Europe throughout the season including with the Orchestre National de France performing Elgar’s Symphony No. 1, Berlioz and Saint-Saëns (30 September 2021) and with the Dresden Philharmonic for Sibelius’ Symphony No. 3 and Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto with Leila Josefowicz (18 & 19 June 2022). In his role as Principal Guest Conductor of the Gürzenich-Orchester in Cologne, Collon performs Lutoslawski’s Concerto for Orchestra (12, 13 & 14 March 2022) and he returns to the Residentie Orkest in The Hague to lead the orchestra through Elgar’s Cello Concerto with Narek Hakhnazaryan (27 December 2021) in its newly-built concert hall – Collon’s first concert with the orchestra since finishing his tenure as Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor earlier this year. Alongside his inaugural season with the FRSO, he will also join the Danish National Symphony Orchestra for the Danish premiere of Thomas Ades’ Humoresques with Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto in Copenhagen (20 January 2022).

Aurora

Under Collon’s artistic direction as Founder and Principal Conductor, the ground-breaking Aurora Orchestra has become one of Europe’s leading chamber orchestras, critically acclaimed for world-class performances, adventurous programming and creative concert formats. Resident Orchestra at Kings Place and Associate Orchestra at Southbank Centre, Aurora has also appeared at the BBC Proms every year since 2010, and in 2014 became the first orchestra in history to present an entire symphony from memory. Since then, it has continued to embrace this intensely communicative style of presentation and on 11 August 2021 will return to the Royal Albert Hall under the musical direction of Collon to give a memorised performance of Stravinsky’s The Firebird suite. As part of its series at the Southbank Centre, the orchestra will also give a complete performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 without sheet music with an introduction to the symphony presented by Collon and BBC Radio 3 presenter Tom Service on 4 November 2021. Aurora will continue to grow its international touring this season with performances planned in Bonn, Bregenz, Cologne, Hamburg and Lyon in 2022. 

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