Erik Nielsen became Chief Conductor of the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra in September 2015 and served as Music Director of Theater Basel from 2016 – 2018. In 2002 he began a 10-year association with the Frankfurt Opera, starting as Korrepetitor (pianist) and later as Kapellmeister. One year prior to this, he was a harpist in the Berlin Philharmonic as a member of its Orchester-Akademie.
Erik studied conducting at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and received his bachelor’s degree in both oboe and harp performance at The Juilliard School.
Upcoming projects for the 19/20 season include Die Meistersinger in Oslo, in addition to concerts in Madrid, Manchester, and his return to the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich.
Recent engagements include Krenek’s Karl V for the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Oedipus Rex, Il prigioniero and Pelléas et Mélisande at the Semper Oper Dresden, Peter Grimes and Trojahn’s Oreste at the Opernhaus Zürich, Billy Budd and Lachenmann’s Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern in Frankfurt, Usandizaga’s Mendi Mendiyan, Bach’s St. John’s Passion and Salome in Bilbao, and The Rake’s Progress in Budapest, in addition to concerts in Oslo, Stockholm, Madrid, Strasbourg, Lisbon, Basel, Aspen and at the Interlochen Arts Camp.
In 2009 he was awarded The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award by the Solti Foundation U.S.