Nicholas Carter

Principal Conductor, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra

Chefdirigent of Stadttheater Klagenfurt and the Kärntnersinfonieorchester from September 2018

Credit: Annette Koroll


Adelaide Symphony Orchestra Principal Conductor Nicholas Carter is the first Australian to be appointed to one of the six major state orchestras in nearly 30 years and is fast establishing a reputation as a conductor of exceptional versatility, equally at home in the concert hall and the opera house, and fluent in a diverse repertoire. From 2014-16 he was Kapellmeister and musical assistant to Donald Runnicles at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Nicholas has recently been appointed as the new Chefdirigent of Stadttheater Klagenfurt and the Kärntnersinfonieorchester, a position which he will take up in September 2018, and has extended his relationship with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra through to the end of calendar year 2018.

Plans for the 2017/18 season include performances at the Deutsche Oper Berlin (The Love for Three Oranges, Le nozze di Figaro, La bohème), and debuts with Fort Worth Symphony, Orchestre Métropolitain (Montreal), Bochumer Symphoniker and a return visit to Hong Kong Philharmonic. Nicholas will make his Paris debut at the Theatre des Champs Elysées, conducting concert performances of Samson & Dalila with Orchestre National de France and Roberto Alagna. Plans with Adelaide include performances with Alexander Gavrylyuk, of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 and Brett Dean’s Hamlet at the Adelaide Festival.


Performance Schedule

  • 29 Apr 17 Donizetti Deutsche Oper am Rhein
    Opernhaus Düsseldorf
    More info  

    “…Nicholas Carter arbeitet mit den Düsseldorfer Symphonikern die sprühende Komik der Musik differenziert heraus und rundet den Abend mit einem frischen und leichtfüßig wirkenden Klang formvollendet ab, so dass es am Ende für alle Beteiligten frenetischen Jubel gibt.”

    Online Musik Magazin, April 2017

  • 02 Dec 16 Messiaen, Sibelius, Berlioz Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
    Adelaide Town Hall
    More info  


    “Innovative programming and restrained refinement allows ASO to shine.”
    “If one was looking for proof in the wisdom of Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s visionary decision to select young Australian Nicholas Carter as Chief Conductor, this was probably the concert.
    For some conductors, it’s purely the ability to achieve a great sound, but in this case in point, it was also obvious in the unusual, but highly effectively and innovative  programming of Messiaen, Sibelius and Berlioz. If one is seeking a narrative for this programme, the theme which comes to mind is the ability of orchestral music to capture and bring to life the rich characters and emotions of life”

    “In this Adelaide premiere of the Messiaen Le Tombeau Resplendissant, Carter and the ASO created a very fine performance, which beautifully captured the work’s energy and pathos.

    The precision required in the bright, angular sections was sheer perfection. With no unclear sound blends, the energy was piercing. Visually it was like watching a 85-piece orchestra performing a complex ballet movement. In the quieter section, the dynamic control, the pace and the energy created a wondrous spine-tingling eeriness.”

    “After such an impressive concert, one can only wait and see what Carter creates in 2017!”

    Christopher Wainwright, Limelight Magazine, 04 December 2016 

  • 29 Oct 16 Ravel, Barber, Vaughan Williams BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra *Debut*
    City Halls, Glasgow
    More info  


    “WHAT a belter of a concert, and a supremely sophisticated one, on Thursday afternoon from the BBC SSO, with towering SSO debuts from both conductor and soloist and superlative playing from the orchestra”

    “The conductor was Nicholas Carter, principal conductor of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, and a Donald Runnicles protégé who has worked with the great man at the Deutsche Opera and at Runnicles’ Wyoming festival. But Carter, neat, supple and flexible in his direction, is very much his own man, as he demonstrated in Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, where the light, fluid and pristine clarity of the SSO’s super-articulate playing reflected the certainty of direction from the young man at the front.”
    “Carter, for all his cracking timing, is no metronome on legs. There is a fabulously flexible quality in his pulse, which was reflected warmly and dramatically in the orchestral accompaniment to the gorgeous performance of Barber’s Violin Concerto, gloriously played with a seductive glow and some fierce intensity by Ukranian Valeriy Sokolov. The concerto is among the most overtly beautiful of Barber’s works, but yesterday’s performance from soloist, conductor, and a gleaming SSO had an unforgettable sheen.”
    “To cap it all, this magic young conductor and the orchestra produced a wonderfully broad, noble, and calmly majestic account of Vaughan Williams’ Fifth Symphony, characterised as much by its inner momentum as by its inimitable stillness of atmosphere. I’m no fan of the music, but this performance was deeply impressive and profoundly moving.”
    Michael Tumelty, Herald Scotland, 28 October 2016 

  • 10 Oct 16 Sibelius Symphony No. 3, Wagner “Waldweben” from Siegfried Oregon Symphony *Debut*
    Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
    More info  

    Sibelius’s Third –  “… it is the haunting second movement Andantino, with its recurring melody in six beats — now divided into three, now into two — that makes this symphony unforgettable. Australian conductor Nicholas Carter brought out all this movement’s beauty in admirably understated fashion.”

    “A sensuous but also crisp and sharp rendition of Wagner’s “Waldweben” (Forest Murmurs) from his opera Siegfried.”

    Terry Ross, Oregon ArtsWatch, 13 October 2016 

  • 25 Jun 16 Ross Edwards, Stravinsky, Dukas Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
    Adelaide Town Hall
    More info  

    Ross Edwards – White Ghost Dancing:

    “Ross Edwards’ White Ghost Dancing from 1999 is as Australian in manner as they come with an accent on dance, chant and bush atmosphere. Its life affirming vitality was powerfully portrayed in Carter’s tensile interpretation.”

    Stravinsky – Petrushka:

    “As the program’s final work, a fully warmed up ASO did the Stravinsky proud in a highly colored, full-blooded performance with plenty of energy. The winds – always Stravinsky’s favourites – had a field day with his soloistic writing that bristles with intricate rhythmic and melodic decoration throughout all four ballet scenes. In particular the final Shrovetide Fair tableau’s riot of contrasting festivities and moods showed conductor Nicholas Carter’s and the ASO’s capacity to reinvent very well-known material in their own way.”

    Rodney Smith, The Advertiser, June 26, 2016 



    “Nicholas Carter brings electric zeal to a banquet of symphonic fireworks.”

    “Just six months into his tenure as Principal Conductor of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Nicholas Carter is already proving to be a rejuvenating and inspirational force, heralding an exciting new era of music-making as the orchestra celebrates its 80th anniversary. At just 30 years of age, Carter has proven successful across a wide variety of repertoire, and this concert, comprised almost exclusively of works from the 20th century, was no exception. The apparent ease with which Carter and the ASO navigated through this formidably taxing programme could not have been easily replicated by even the most experienced of conductors.”

    “Opening with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas, the cohesion and flair of the orchestra was immediately impressive. This was sorcery of a different kind: Carter’s baton commanded a magician’s control over an astonishing diversity of dynamic contrast, and the orchestra responded to each carefully nuanced inflection with a display of unity that propels them into the highest echelons of orchestral playing in the country.”

    “Carter was able to conjure all the magic inherent in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, capitalising on the dramatic silences and moments of comic relief.”

    Stravinsky – Petrushka:

    “Once again, Carter brought a refreshingly youthful exuberance to the orchestra, who responded to the work’s notorious difficulties without the faintest hint of insecurity.”
    Dylan Henderson, Limelight Magazine, 27 June 2016

  • 18 Mar 16 Strauss, Ravel, Beethoven Adelaide Symphony Orchestra - First 'Masters Series' Concert
    Adelaide Town Hall
    More info  

    “The program included Strauss’ Don Juan (1889), Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G (1932), and Beethoven’s Symphony No 5 in C Minor (1808). Carter utilised the excellent acoustics of the Adelaide Town Hall to bring to life these big statement pieces.”

    “Carter was full of life as he conducted the Strauss.”

    “Immediately after the final notes, the audience broke into a torrent of applause. Carter praised each section of the orchestra with genuine gratitude and affection, and was personally brought back onto the stage four times by the audience. The Master Series could not have had a more successful premiere.”

    Nicola Woolford, Glam Adelaide, 19 March 2016 

  • 13 Feb 16 Beethoven, Wagner Adelaide Symphony Orchestra - Season Opening
    Adelaide Festival Theatre
    More info  


    “Their first concert for 2016 under the more than capable baton of incoming Chief Conductor Nicholas Carter was a perfect example of the level of musicianship of which this orchestra is truly capable.”

    “Here was a truly excellent introduction – not only to the orchestra and this year’s choice in programming – but to this equally fine young conductor  – Nicholas Carter – himself.”

    Brett Allen-Bayes, Limelight Magazine, 17 March 2016

Adelaide Symphony Orchestra

Nicholas Carter is Principal Conductor of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
“I am hugely honoured and humbled to take this position with the ASO from 2016. Working with the ASO was one of my very first professional conducting engagements. I’ve never felt more comfortable or at ease than I do working with this orchestra. I’m thrilled to see where the relationship will go next year and the years following and enjoy some intense music making.”

Nicholas Carter in discussion with Limelight Magazine, 09 April 2015