New Zealand-born Holly Mathieson was, until recently, Assistant Conductor at the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Resident Conductor within the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland. She currently holds positions as Artistic Director of Rata Music Collective and Co-Artistic Director of the Nevis Ensemble.
A passionate communicator combined with crystalline technique and a collaborative approach, she has won plaudits in all forms of music direction from opera and ballet to full scale symphonic programs.
The past two seasons have seen her debuts with almost all key UK orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra and BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and Ulster Orchestra, as well as return visits to the Scottish Chamber and Salomon orchestras, Southbank Sinfonia, Royal Northern Sinfonia’s Young Sinfonia, Red Note Ensemble, Scottish Ballet, Royal College of Music Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Royal Northern College of Music Symphony Orchestra.
The 2019/20 season sees her debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Scottish Opera Orchestra, Sinfonia Viva, and Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra. She also debuts with English Touring Opera (Mozart’s Così fan Tutte), Opera North (new work by Will Todd), and New Zealand Opera, conducting Britten’s Turn of the Screw. Auckland Philharmonia and Scottish Ballet all welcome her back.
Holly’s debut CD with Decca featuring Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Isata Kanneh-Mason and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra was released in July 2019, and immediately landed on the No. 1 spot in the UK Classical charts.
Summer 2018 saw the inaugural tour of the innovative Nevis Ensemble, which is founded on the maxim that “music is for everyone, everywhere”, and aims to take music out of the concert hall and into isolated communities. The orchestra undertook over 70 concerts in a period of two weeks, travelling the length and breadth of Scotland. In 2019, the orchestra tours the Hebrides.
Toward the beginning of her conducting career, she was chosen as one of only four young conductors from around the world to participate in the Interaktion Dirigentenwerkstatt des Kritischen Orchesters with players from the Berlin Philharmonic and other top-tiered German orchestras. She has worked with, and learned at the side of, many esteemed conductors, and counts the following among her mentors: Marin Alsop, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christoph von Dohnányi, Peter Oundjian, Donald Runnicles, Thomas Søndergård, and Garry Walker.
Holly is based in Glasgow, where she previously held the prestigious Leverhulme Fellowship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She holds a PhD in Music Iconography, and in 2016, she was named as one of New Zealand’s Top 50 Women of Achievement.
Get to know Holly!
Have you ever tried a donair? Who is your favourite living conductor? How do you go about learning a piece you’re going to conduct? Holly answers these questions and more as we get to know what makes our Music Director tick!