Erik Nielsen is a conductor equally at home in opera and in concert.

A pianist since an early age, he later studied oboe and harp at The Juilliard School and conducting at the Curtis Institute of Music. He moved to Germany in 2001 as a harpist of the Berlin Philharmonic’s Orchestra Academy.

In 2002 he began a 10-year association with the Frankfurt Opera, beginning as a Korrepetitor (pianist) and later as a Kapellmeister. There he amassed a large repertoire from Monteverdi to Lachenmann.

Erik conducted the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra (Bilbao Orkesta Sinfonikoa) for the first time in 2012 in Korngold’s TOTE STADT and was named Chief Conductor in September 2015. Additionally he was Music Director of Theater Basel (2016-2018).

Upcoming projects for the 21/22 season include his debut with the Tiroler Festspiele Erl (Das Rheingold) and the world premier of a new opera by Manfred Trojahn with Dutch National Opera.   Additionally, he conducts the JONDE (Spanish National Youth Orchestra)  and returns to the Frankfurt Opera conducting Norma.  

Recent engagements include Krenek’s KARL V for the Bayerische Staatsoper, 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, Manchester, Stockholm, Madrid, Strasbourg, Lisbon, Basel, Aspen Music Festival and at the Interlochen Arts Camp.

In 2009 he was awarded The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award by the Solti Foundation U.S.