As he embarks on his fourth decade on the podium, Nicholas McGegan — long hailed as “one of the finest baroque conductors of his generation” (The Independent) and “an expert in 18th-century style” (The New Yorker) — is recognized for his probing and revelatory explorations of music of all periods. Last season marked his 30th year as music director of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale and he is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Pasadena Symphony.
Best known as a baroque and classical specialist, McGegan’s approach— intelligent, infused with joy and never dogmatic — has led to appearances with many of the world’s major orchestras. At home in opera houses, McGegan shone new light on close to twenty Handel operas as the Artistic Director and conductor at the Göttingen Handel Festival for 20 years (1991-2001) and the Mozart canon as Principal Guest Conductor at Scottish Opera in the 1990s.
His 16/17 appearances include the Los Angeles Philharmonic (his 20th anniversary at the Hollywood Bowl); two programs with Pasadena Symphony; Baltimore, St. Louis, and Toronto Symphonies; Calgary Philharmonic; Handel and Haydn Society; Aspen Music Festival; and the Cleveland Orchestra/Blossom Music Festival. Highlights of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale’s season under McGegan include a fully-staged production of Rameau’s La temple de la gloire, Handel’s oratorio Joshua, and programs with guest soloists Robert Levin (fortepiano) and Isabelle Faust (violin). In addition, McGegan and PBOC revive Scarlatti’s La Gloria di Primavera at Tanglewood and appear at Yale’s Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. In the fall of 2016 at Harvard, McGegan served a residency as the Christoph Wolff Distinguished Visiting Scholar. He also conducts the all-Mozart semi-final round of the 2017 Van Cliburn Piano Competition. Overseas in the fall, McGegan appeared with Cappella Savaria at the Esterhazy Palace in Fertod, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. In April, he appears with the Royal Northern Sinfonia.
McGegan’s prodigious discography features eight releases on Philharmonia Baroque’s label, Philharmonia Baroque Productions (PBP) including the 2011 GRAMMY® Award-nominated recording of Haydn Symphonies nos. 88, 101, and 104. Their latest release features the first-ever recording of the newly rediscovered 300-year-old work La Gloria di Primavera by Alessandro Scarlatti, recorded live at the U.S. premiere. McGegan has also recorded extensively with Capella Savaria, most recently releasing albums of Haydn and Joseph Martin Kraus.
English-born Nicholas McGegan was educated at Cambridge and Oxford. He was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to music overseas.” Most recently, McGegan was invited to join the board of Early Music America. Other awards include the Halle Handel Prize; the Order of Merit of the State of Lower Saxony (Germany); the Medal of Honour of the City of Göttingen, and a declaration of Nicholas McGegan Day, by the Mayor of San Francisco in recognition of his work with Philharmonia Baroque. In 2013, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music awarded him an honorary degree of Doctor of Music.