American conductor Erik Nielsen made his Royal Opera House debut in 2015 conducting Welsh National Opera’s production of Peter Pan.
Nielsen was born in Iowa. He studied oboe and harp at the Juilliard School and conducting at the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, and played harp with the Orchestra Acadamy of the Berlin Philharmonic. He joined Frankfurt Opera in 2002 and was Kapellmeister there 2008–12. Engagements with Frankfurt Opera include Le nozze di Figaro, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, La clemenza di Tito, Tosca, Angels in America, Curlew River, La bohème, Lucia di Lammermoor, Lohengrin, Simplicius Simplicissimus, the German premiere of Reimann’s Medea and the project Offenbachiade, involving Nielsen’s orchestrations of six Offenbach operas. Opera engagements elsewhere include Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (Tanglewood), The Magic Flute (English National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, New York), Ariadne auf Naxos (Boston Lyric Opera), Carmen (WNO), Peter Grimes and Orest (Zürich), The Merchant of Venice (Bregenz Festival), the world premiere of Solaris (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées) and The Rake’s Progress (Hungarian State Opera).
Nielsen’s concert engagements include with such ensembles as the Frankfurt and Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestras, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Chambre de Genève, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg and Ensemble Modern. His awards include the 2009 Solti Fellowship. He became music director of Bilbao Symphony Orchestra in 2015, and will take on directorship of Theater Basel in 2016.