Nicholas Koo

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Nicholas Koo

Nicholas Koo is a Korean-American conductor currently serving multiple orchestras across the United States including the Minnesota Orchestra, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and the San Diego Symphony. Mr. Koo has been active in the Chicago area having made guest conducting appearances with the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Southloop Symphony of Chicago in addition to serving the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association in both artistic and public media relations.

Just this past summer, he was invited to join the artists roster of Festival Mozaic as the festival’s first assistant conductor. In the summer of 2021 he was recipient of the Perotti-Holmes endowed fellowship, serving the role of assistant conductor at the Colorado College Summer Music Festival under conductor Scott Yoo. In partnership with television’s PBS, the festival was featured in the critically-acclaimed series Now Hear This where Mr. Koo conducted the festival orchestra in music by Aaron Copland. Nicholas also served as music director for the Atlantic Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble and as assistant conductor of the Atlantic Music Festival Symphony Orchestra. 

A recipient of Bienen’s Eckstein Scholarship, Nicholas received his master’s degree in conducting from the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music in 2018 and his doctorate of musical arts under Victor Yampolsky where his work culminated in a US premiere of a new arrangment of Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. He served as assistant conductor with the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra throughout his time at Bienen and accompanied the orchestra on its first international tour to China in 2018. In partnership with the Northwestern University Opera Company, Nicholas led a production of Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus as well as the world premiere of a contemporary opera with the university composer’s collective. An advocate for new music, he served as assistant conductor to the Northwestern Contemporary Music Ensemble under director Alan Pierson prior to and throughout the pandemic. 

Originally from Bay Area, California, Nicholas attended the University of California Berkeley for undergraduate degrees in both molecular cell biology and music where he began his conducting studies with David Milnes. A two-time recipient of the Alfred Hertz Memorial Travelling Scholarship, Nicholas has participated in various masterclasses, working with notable musical figures such as Esa-Pekka Salonen and Gustavo Dudamel. His list of mentors include Donald Runnicles, Peter Oundjian, Rune Bergmann, Giancarlo Guerrero, and John Storgårds, among many others.