Nicholas Carter

Chefdirigent, Stadttheater Klagenfurt and the Kärntnersinfonieorchester

Principal Conductor, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra


Credit: Annette Koroll


Newly appointed as Chief Conductor of the Stadttheater Klagenfurt and the Kärntner Sinfonieorchester, Nicholas Carter will lead three new productions per season and appear regularly in the orchestra’s concert series. In his first season, he conducts Rusalka, La Clemenza di Tito and Pelléas et Mélisande, and concert programmes include Haydn’s Die Schöpfung and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1.

Since his appointment as Principal Conductor of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in 2016, Nicholas has established a reputation as a conductor of exceptional versatility, equally at home in the concert hall and opera house, and fluent in a diverse repertoire. Indeed his appointment was significant, as he became the first Australian to be chosen as Principal Conductor of an Australian orchestra in over 30 years. Between 2011 and 2014, he served as Kapellmeister to Simone Young in Hamburg, before moving on to a 2 year engagement as Kapellmeister and Musical Assistant to Donald Runnicles at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, a house where he enjoys a rewarding ongoing association.

This season includes performances with the Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin (concert debut, including Brett Dean’s Pastoral Symphony and Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony) and returns to BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Oper Berlin (Rigoletto) and Deutsche Oper am Rhein (Don Carlo). The Adelaide concert season features Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and Beethoven Symphony No. 9 and a commercial recording of the complete Beethoven piano concertos with Jayson Gillham. He also returns to the orchestra of the Australian National Academy of Music Melbourne and to the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. The 2021/22 season sees his Metropolitan Opera debut with Brett Dean’s Hamlet.


Performance Schedule

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    18:30 19 Sep 2019 Stadttheater Klagenfurt, KLAGENFURT AM WORTHERSEE

    RICHARD WAGNER Tannhäuser

    Conductor: Nicholas Carter

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    15:00 22 Sep 2019 Stadttheater Klagenfurt, KLAGENFURT AM WORTHERSEE

    RICHARD WAGNER Tannhäuser

    Conductor: Nicholas Carter

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    18:30 25 Sep 2019 Stadttheater Klagenfurt, KLAGENFURT AM WORTHERSEE

    RICHARD WAGNER Tannhäuser

    Conductor: Nicholas Carter

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    18:30 28 Sep 2019 Stadttheater Klagenfurt, KLAGENFURT AM WORTHERSEE

    RICHARD WAGNER Tannhäuser

    Conductor: Nicholas Carter

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    18:30 02 Oct 2019 Stadttheater Klagenfurt, KLAGENFURT AM WORTHERSEE

    RICHARD WAGNER Tannhäuser

    Conductor: Nicholas Carter

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    18:30 05 Oct 2019 Stadttheater Klagenfurt, KLAGENFURT AM WORTHERSEE

    RICHARD WAGNER Tannhäuser

    Conductor: Nicholas Carter

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    18:30 11 Oct 2019 Stadttheater Klagenfurt, KLAGENFURT AM WORTHERSEE

    RICHARD WAGNER Tannhäuser

    Conductor: Nicholas Carter

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    18:30 15 Oct 2019 Stadttheater Klagenfurt, KLAGENFURT AM WORTHERSEE

    RICHARD WAGNER Tannhäuser

    Conductor: Nicholas Carter

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    16 Nov 18 Beethoven and Bernstein Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
    Adelaide Town Hall

    “Carter gives Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms fresh treatment”

    “Carter brought a truthfulness to Bernstein’s fusion of ideas that gave meaning to its inner human drama and made this a most moving performance.”

    “This was an exalted performance of head-spinning power and conviction.”


    Graham Strahle, The Australian, 20 November 2018


    Beethoven’s 9th:

    “The famous Choral Finale really flew, with Carter driving at up-tempo speeds with both chorus and soloists similarly enlivened.

    Yet, despite their numbers, we were never overwhelmed by the sea of players as Carter kept the reins tight to the very end. Masterful, indeed.”

    Rodney Smith, The Advertiser, November 2018

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    10 May 19 Don Carlo Deutsche Oper am Rhein
    Mercatorhalle, Duisburg

    “Conductor Nicholas Carter inspiring both orchestra and chorus to sparkle. Carter, principal conductor of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, was a long way from home, but his reputation had preceded him. He directed masterfully all evening.”

    Brian Angus, Bachtrack, 18 May 2019

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    17 Aug 18 Faure, Macmillan, Rachmaninov Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
    Adelaide Town Hall

    “Under the direction of chief conductor Nicholas Carter, one experienced a delightfully sophisticated and considered ASO performance.”

    Christopher Wainwright, Adelaide Advertiser, 20 August 2018


    “Carter and his formidable ASO team go from strength to strength”

    “Nicholas Carter and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra have turned into a formidable combination in their short time together.”

    “Carter and the ASO have an air of easy confidence about them, and they have moved to an altogether more impressive level. It is not only in Germanic repertoire either, which is Carter’s heartland. Brett Dean’s Hamlet earlier this year proved just how brilliant Carter is in contemporary works, and this concert unveiling James MacMillan’s new Saxophone Concerto with soloist Amy Dickson underlined that verdict.”


    “Carter’s precision, in the pizzicato rhythms in the playful dancelike outer movements and the sinuous, entwining bowed textures of the heartfelt middle movement, was immaculate.”


    “Under his potent and remarkably clear direction, the ASO felt twice the orchestra. There was an abundance to enjoy and admire in this concert.”

    Graham Strahle, The Australian, 20 August 2018

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    06 Apr 18 Wagner, Saint-Saëns Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
    Adelaide Town Hall


    “The first of the 2018 Adelaide Symphony Orchestra Master Series concerts began with the Tannhäuser overture, a reminder that principal conductor Nicholas Carter is destined to become a leading Wagner conductor of the 21st century.”

    “The concert began with confident, gentle conducting by Carter, who with steady hand and graceful control smoothly opened up the Tannhäuser overture, first with the winds, then effortlessly transitioning to the strings and on to the dramatic crescendo of the “Pilgrims’ Chorus”, encouraging the violinists as they faded and emerged, striking bold strokes from their bows. As the overture began to highlight Tannhäuser’s conflict between sensual and sacred love, Carter lead dramatically; like a balloon deflating, transitioning back to the pilgrims’ theme, to once again powering up with thundering trombones and frenetic strings, then fading away to a restful conclusion. Carter’s conducting of Wagner was sensitive. He should do more – he is a natural at it.”

    “Finally the Saint-Saëns “Organ Symphony” – always last in any concert it appears and for good reason. Saint-Saëns saw it as the epitome of his composing. It is charged with emotion, inspiring any audience and sending them away excited and uplifted. Carter led the orchestra into a gentle start – smooth and seductive, measured, not rushed – with understated strings gradually building to a crescendo. He created great separations of light and shade, letting each instrument in the orchestra clearly stand out. The first movement’s second half was very measured, as the organ’s low reverberating notes vibrated into every cranny of the Hall.”

    Brian Angus, Bachtrack, 09 April 2018

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    02 Mar 18 Brett Dean's Hamlet Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
    Adelaide Festival Centre

    “Conductor Nicholas Carter brings out the best in the score and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in the production’s Australian debut, creating a sound experience that powerfully represents a sense of Hamlet’s madness and his torturous journey.”

    Greg Elliott, In Daily, 03 March 2018


    “Brett Dean’s score demands world class singer actors, more than sixty orchestral players, unusual percussion, magical electronic effects and two choirs. Under Nicholas Carter’s assured direction, the forces build to great climaxes but revel in chamber music like intimacy, subtle and intriguingly textured.”

    Ewart Shaw, The Advertiser, 04 March 2018


    “Nicholas Carter directs Adelaide Symphony Orchestra with precision, zeal and a highly attuned ear to the kaleidoscopic colours of Dean’s score.”

    The Australian 


    “It was outstanding on all fronts”


    Sandra Bowdler, Bachtrack, 03 March 2018

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    10 Nov 17 Elgar Enigma Variations Fort Worth Symphony
    Bass Performance Hall

    “Conductor Carter discovered a delicate counterpoint not only of thematic material but of timbral color in the opening statement.”

    “Conductor Carter found the perfect pacing throughout —for instance, in pausing for a good quarter of a minute after the sublime “Nimrod” variation. One would, indeed, like to hear more of Carter in the British repertoire in which he clearly excels.”

    “Elgar, in this performance aided by conductor Carter’s superb timing and insight, urges the listener forward on the voyage of life, as well as toward the final grand moments of this work.”

    Wayne Lee Gay, Texas Classical Review, 11 November 2017

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    01 Aug 17 Fledermaus Santa Fe Opera
    Santa Fe Opera

    “Conductor Nicholas Carter, principal conductor of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, was largely responsible for the evening’s musical success. In his American opera debut, Carter navigated the daunting twists and turns of this complex score, with just the right exaggerations of tempo and rubato. The orchestra played with confidence and style with all the necessary sparkle in the trumpets, piccolos, and percussion.”

    Charles T. Downey, The Classical Review, 03 August 2017


    “The orchestra under the baton of Nicholas Carter, principal conductor of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, was excellent, with a light, lyrical approach.”

    Steve Cohen, DC Metro Theater Arts, 31 August 2017

    “Conductor Nicholas Carter provided strong direction is this score which frequently changes gear without warning.”

    D.S Crafts, Albuquerque Journal, 03 July 2017


    “Conductor Nicholas Carter kept things sprightly and the chorus brought full-throated fun to the proceedings.”

    Michael Wade Simpson, Culture Vulture, July 2017

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    29 Apr 17 Donizetti Deutsche Oper am Rhein
    Opernhaus Düsseldorf

    “…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

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


    “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 

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


    “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 

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

    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 

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

    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

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

    “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 

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


    “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