The English conductor, Nicholas Cleobury, was organ scholar at Worcester College, Oxford, conductor of Schola Cantorum of Oxford (1974-1977), chorus master of London Choral Society (1978-1982) and held assistant organist posts at Chichester Cathedral and Christ Church, Oxford before turning to orchestral and operatic work.
Nicholas Cleobury is Founder-Laureate of the Britten Sinfonia and has been particularly active in the promotion of contemporary music. He is currently (2014) principal conductor of the Oxford Bach Choir. He is Head of Opera at the Queensland Conservatorium, Brisbane (since 2016), Artistic Director of Mid-Wales Opera (since 2009), Principal Conductor of John Armitage Memorial (JAM), Founder Director of Sounds New and Founder Laureate of the Britten Sinfonia.
Nicholas Cleobury has conducted all the major UK orchestras and widely in Europe, Hong Kong, Scandinavia, Singapore, South Africa, USA and beyond. He works regularly for the BBC and Classicfm, has appeared at most British Music Festivals, often at the Proms and made many recordings. He has conducted numerous opera companies from English National Opera (ENO), Glyndebourne and Opera North to Canadian Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre, the Royal Opera Stockholm and extensively for Zürich Opera. He has been Principal Opera Conductor at the Royal Academy of Music and Music Director of Broomhill Opera.
Nicholas Cleobury has made an enormous contribution to the performance and fostering of contemporary music, having worked with many leading ensembles and composers, most notably Sir Michael Tippett, given countless premieres and promoted many young composers.
Nicholas Cleobury is also a specialist choral conductor, having been Assistant Director at the BBC Singers. He has worked with choirs all over the world, from the Swedish Radio Choir and Danish Radio Choir, to the Berkshire Choral Festival (UK and USA) and Die Konzertisten in Hong Kong and numerous major choirs in the UK, including the Royal and Huddersfield Choral Societies.
Nicholas Cleobury has a particular gift and flair for working with young people and students, as conductor, lecturer and teacher, at most of the UK music colleges, and with British Youth Opera, Jette Parker (ROH), the National Opera Studio, Oxford University Music Faculty, University of Cambridge Faculty of Music and the Southbank Sinfonia.
January 2014 saw a brand new production of George Frideric Handel's' Acis and Galatea with Mid Wales Opera, Brecon Baroque and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Directed by Annilese Miskimmon with Rachel Podger leading, Nicholas Cleobury led a stellar cast and chorus receiving great critical acclaim. Autumn 2014 saw a major tour of Carmen with Mid Wales Opera. Directed by Jonathan Miller with translation by Rory Bremner and a new orchestration by Stephen McNeff. In November he conducted the World premiere of Jonathan Dove's For an Unknown Soldier at Portsmouth Grammar School with the London Mozart Players, repeated in Croydon and in March 2015 with the Oxford Bach Choir in the Sheldonian Theatre. Highlights of 2015 included concerts with JAM (Giles Swayne Yonghy-bonghy Bo in London), the World Premiere of Thea Musgrave's Voices of our Ancestors in London and Kent, L.v. Beethoven's Fidelio at Opera Omaha in April, concerts with Mid Wales Opera and continued work with their burgeoning Young Artist Programme. He also conducted the revival of Stephen McNeff's Tarka the Otter at the 2 Moors Festival in October. He currently lives in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England.
Nicholas Cleobury is an Honorary RAM and Fellow of Christ Church University Canterbury, MA (Oxon), FRCO and a Trustee of Britten in Oxford, Schola Cantorum of Oxford, Sounds New and Youth Music. His elder brother Stephen Cleobury is Director of Music at King's College, Cambridge.