As he embarks on his fifth decade on the podium, NICHOLAS MCGEGAN — long hailed as “one of the finest baroque conductors of his generation” (London Independent) and “an expert in 18th-century style” (The New Yorker) — is recognized for his probing and revelatory explorations of music of all periods. The 2018/19 season marks his 33rd 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 20 Handel operas as the Artistic Director and conductor at the Göttingen Handel Festival for 20 years (1991-2011) and the Mozart canon as Principal Guest Conductor at Scottish Opera in the 1990’s. At the same time, he was principal conductor of the Drottningholm Opera in Sweden.
McGegan has established the San Francisco-based Philharmonia as one of the world’s leading period-performance ensembles, with notable appearances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the London Proms, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and the International Handel Festival, Göttingen. One of their greatest successes was the recent fully-staged modern-day premiere of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s 1745 opera-ballet Le Temple de la Gloire.
McGegan’s prolific discography includes more than 100 releases spanning five decades. Having recorded over 50 albums of Handel, McGegan has explored the depths of the composer’s output with a dozen oratorios and close to 20 of his operas. Under its own label, Philharmonia Baroque Productions (PBP), Philharmonia has recently released almost a dozen acclaimed albums of Handel, Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Brahms, Haydn, Beethoven, Alessandro Scarlatti, and the modern-day premiere of the original version of Rameau’s Le Temple de la Gloire.
Born in England, Nicholas McGegan was educated at Cambridge and Oxford and taught at the Royal College of Music, London. He was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honors for 2010 “for services to music overseas.” He was also awarded the Verdienstkreuz (am bande) from Niedersachsen (Germany) in 2011.
In 2016 he was the Christoph Wolff Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Harvard and is a frequent visitor to Yale.