Nicholas McGegan is “one of the finest baroque conductors of his generation” (Independent) and “an expert in 18th century style” (New Yorker). In his capacity as Music Director of San Francisco based Philharmonia Baroque he has established the group as the leading period band in America. In 2005 they marked their 20-year association with concerts at Carnegie Hall, their first European tour with appearances at the BBC Proms, Snape Maltings Aldeburgh, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and the International Handel Festival, Göttingen where McGegan was Artistic Director 1991 – 2011. He is also the Principal Guest Conductor of Pasadena Symphony.
Active in opera as well as the concert hall, he has been Principal Guest Conductor of Scottish Opera and Principal Conductor of Sweden’s 18th Century theatre in Drottingholm, running the annual festival there.
He has been a pioneer in the process of exporting historically informed performance practice beyond the world of period instruments to wider conventional symphonic forces, guest-conducting with orchestras such as the Chicago, St Louis, Toronto, Montreal and Sydney Symphony Orchestras, the New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestras, the Cleveland, Philadelphia, Houston and Concertgebouw Orchestras as well as the Royal Scottish National, BBC Scottish Symphony, Scottish Chamber, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and CBSO Baroque Ensemble, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Orquestra Sinfonica do Porto at Casa da Musica, Capella Savaria at the Esterházy Festival, and the Hallé.
Opera companies he works with include Royal Opera House Covent Garden, San Francisco, Santa Fe and Washington. He has broken new ground in experimental dance-collaborations with Mark Morris, notably at festivals such as Edinburgh International and Ravinia.
His discography of over 100 releases includes the world premiere recording of Handel’s Susanna, which attracted both a Gramophone Award and Grammy nomination. Recent issues of the same composer’s works include Solomon, Samson and Acis and Galatea (a rarity in that it unearths the little-known version adapted by Felix Mendelssohn). Among his other rediscoveries is the first performance in modern times of Handel’s masterly but mislaid Gloria. Other important releases on Philharmonia Baroque’s own label include Brahms Serenades, Berlioz Nuits D’Ete, Haydn Symphonies, Vivaldi Four Seasons and Handel Atalanta.
Recent highlights include conducting the BBC Proms’ first prom outside of London since the 1930s and the world premiere of Sally Beamish’s The Judas Passion, co-commissioned by the OAE and the Philharmonia Baroque. In 2018/19 he returns to conduct the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and appears with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, the NDR Radiophilharmonie, and with the MDR-Sinfonieorchester at MDR Musiksommer.
Born in England, he was educated at Cambridge and Oxford universities. His awards include an honorary professorship at Georg-August University, Göttingen, the Hallé Handel Prize, an order of merit of the state of Lower Saxony, a medal of Honour of the City of Goettingen and an official Nicholas McGegan Day, declared by the Mayor of San Francisco for two decades of distinguished work with the Philharmonia Baroque.
He was made an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2010.