Credit: Eric Richmond
Nicholas Daniel OBE
Nicholas Daniel OBE has long been acknowledged as one of the world’s great oboists and is one of Britain’s best-known musicians. He has significantly enlarged the repertoire for his instrument with the commissioning of hundreds of new works. He has also developed a varied and exciting conducting career alongside his playing, and both these aspects of his work are equally important to him.
Nicholas dedicates his life to music in many varied ways. He records and broadcasts widely, he recently signed an exclusive contract with Chandos Records, and he boasts a huge following internationally on social media and on Streaming Apps such as Spotify and Apple Music. He is proud to support and patronise many important initiatives, charities and trusts, and has directed several music festivals and concert series, most notably in Germany and at Dartington, and has been Music Director of the Leicester International Music Festival and lunchtime series for many years. He is highly sought after as a teacher, having been Professor at the Trossingen Musikhochschule in Germany for more than 20 years.
As a conductor he made his BBC Proms conducting debut in 2004, and he works with many fine ensembles in hugely wide-ranging repertoire from Baroque to contemporary, from smaller groups to opera. He is Music Director of the Orion Orchestra in the UK, which bridges the gap for young musicians between Conservatoire-level education and the music profession. In recognition of his achievements, he was honoured in 2012 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with the prestigious Queen’s Medal for Music and cited as having made “an outstanding contribution to the musical life of the nation”. In October 2020 he was awarded an OBE and in 2022 was awarded the Cobbett Medal for Chamber Music by the Musicians’ Company.
Having sung as in the choir of Salisbury Cathedral as a boy, Nicholas was put directly into the spotlight at the age of 18 when he won the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition. After a short period of study at London’s Royal Academy of Music, with Janet Craxton and Celia Nicklin and then privately with clarinettist Anthony Pay and with Hans Keller, he quickly established his career with early debuts at the BBC Proms and on disc.
He has been a concerto soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, performing a huge range of repertoire from Bach to Xenakis and beyond, premiering works written for him by hundreds of composers including Eleanor Alberga, Harrison Birtwistle, Henri Dutilleux, James MacMillan, Thea Musgrave, Outi Tarkiainen, John Tavener and Michael Tippett, as well as encouraging many younger composers to write for the oboe. His recording of concertos by Vaughan Williams and MacMillan was awarded the BBC Music Magazine Premiere Award in 2016, and the Vaughan Williams chosen as the best recording of the work in Gramophone in June 2023. He recently premiered and recorded a new Cor Anglais concerto, Milky Ways, by Outi Tarkianien.
As chamber musician Nicholas is a founder member of the award-winning Britten Sinfonia, the Haffner Wind Ensemble, Orsino, and the Britten Oboe Quartet, whose debut disc was released to great acclaim on the Harmonia Mundi label. He also works regularly with the pianists Huw Watkins and Julius Drake, and with many leading string quartets including the Carducci, Doric and Vogler. He is principal oboist of Camerata Pacifica, California’s leading chamber music ensemble, and is a popular guest at music festivals all over the world.
Nicholas Daniel plays Lorée Étoile Oboes and Royale English Horns from De Gourdon, Paris.