Nicholas Kok


"Under Nicholas Kok, the music flows cleanly and effortlessly"

Kenneth Walton, The Scotsman

"Stravinsky's score, conducted by Nicholas Kok, shimmered with beauty"

Debra Craine, The Times

"Nicholas Kok conducts a stirring performance from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra"

The Independent

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Principal Guest Conductor Viva Orchestra

Nicholas Kok studied at New College, Oxford and the Royal College of Music. In both the concert hall and the opera house he has conducted numerous world and British premieres.

Opera productions include Orfeo, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse, The Fairy Queen, The Marriage of Figaro, Così fan tutte, King Priam, The Country of the Blind and Twice through the Heart for English National Opera, The Nightingale’s to Blame, Dido and Aeneas, Gluck Orfeo, Mark Simpson's Pleasure and Kevin Puts' Silent Night for Opera North, Don Giovanni for English Touring Opera, King Arthur, Gluck Orphée, L’incoronazione di Poppea, Hänsel und Gretel, L’italiana in Algieri, Iphigenie in Aulide and Cabaret for Staatstheater Stuttgart, Le nozze di Figaro and Semele for Oper Koeln, Xerxes for Theater Magdeburg, L’elisir d’Amore in Porto, Agrippina for Teatro Sao Carlos Lisbon, Teseo and Cavalli’s Il Giasone in Klagenfurt, and L'incoronazione di Poppea for Opera Theater St Louis. He played a large part in setting up Almeida Opera where he premiered several new works.

Orchestras and ensembles he has worked with include the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Scottish National, Radio Sinfonie Orchester Berlin, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Scottish Symphony, BBC Concert Orchestra, RTE National Symphony Ireland, Ulster Orchestra, Halle, Het Gelders Orkest, Munich Chamber Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Jenaer Philharmonie, Orchestra of St John’s Smith Square, Orquesta de Valencia and Orquestra Nacional do Porto.

Nicholas Kok works and records frequently with the BBC Singers and celebrated his 25th anniversary with the ensemble in 2023. Projects include a recording of Birtwistle's Moth Requiem and works by Robert Saxton, and the UK premiere of Nico Muhly's Spiral Mass with organist James McVinnie. He has recorded for radio and television, and has written and arranged music for both mediums, as well as working as assistant/band conductor on numerous recordings for Opera Rara and Chandos.

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

The Coronation of Poppea

Opera Theatre of St Louis

Incisive musical direction from harpsichordist Nicholas Kok, leader of the eight-member period instrument band that played from the rear corners of the set

Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal

Music director Nicholas Kok presides stylishly at one of the keyboards. The crisp instrumental textures frame consistently fine singing

John van Rhein, Chicago Classical Review


Theater Magdeburg

The premiere was a thorough success...with the experienced Baroque specialist Nicholas Kok, who trained in England, at the helm, the credentials of this production are very good

Irene Constantin,

Silent Night

Opera North

An overwhelming emotive experience… Conductor Nicholas Kok commands an impressive range of colours.

Alfred Hickling, The Guardian ****

Puts’ score, conducted with unfailing assurance by Nicholas Kok, is virile and punchy.

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph ****

Nicholas Kok conducted a fine account of a score stronger for its choral writing — 100 male voices supplementing the company’s chorus.

Hugh Canning, The Times

Nicholas Kok, conducting, marshalled his forces incisively.

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer

Conductor Nicholas Kok and the Opera North orchestra make the most of it, while the augmented male chorus produces a rousing sound.

George Hall, Financial Times

Kok kept a firm hand on the tiller through multiple waves of mood and style.

Martin Dreyer, Opera Magazine

It is conducted with authority and confidence by Nicholas Kok, and the performance, both vocally and dramatically, was equally assured.

Anthony Arblaster, Opera Now

The beautiful Sleep Chorus makes a huge impact, but even more impressive is the consummate way Kok controls such disparate forces spread over the whole stage, especially when the principals and chorus of each of the nations are acting a different scene, singing a different song.

Ron Simpson, The Reviews Hub *****

Conductor Nicholas Kok at the helm of the Orchestra of Opera North carefully balances the vocal and instrumental textures in this spacious acoustic.

Geoffrey Mogridge, Ilkley Gazette


Buxton Festival Opera

Nicholas Kok drew lean playing and punchy period attitudes from the Northern Chamber Orchestra.

Mark Pullinger, Bachtrack

Nicholas Kok conducts a vigorous account from a pit band drawn from the Northern Chamber Orchestra and does his best to carry Mozart's flame aloft.

Mark Valencia, What’s on stage

Nicholas Kok and the orchestra gave us a very lithe and incisive account of the overture.

Planet Hugill

The chorus scenes are magnificent, and conductor Nicholas Kok produces a clean, majestic sound from the Northern Chamber Orchestra... it’s a satisfying, often stunning listen.

Charlotte Valori, Theatre Cat

And with a fine chorus, along with wonderful duets, trios and quartets under the baton of Nicholas Kok with the Northern Chamber Orchestra this was a musical treat.

Mark Ronan Theatre Reviews

Nicholas Kok was in charge in the pit, the music was stylish and energy-filled, and the Northern Chamber Orchestra and Festival Chorus were both magnificent.

Robert Beale, Manchester Classical Music

Musically, the performance was satisfying. Idomeneo must be a favourite of Nicholas Kok for, in his conducting, he relished the variety of colours and imagery in Mozart’s score.

Anthony Ogus


Opera North, Aldeburgh Music and The Royal Opera

The chamber orchestra Psappha plays with panache under Nicholas Kok.

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

the 10-piece band Psappha, in brilliant form under Nicholas Kok

Martin Dreyer, The York Press

Purcell’s The Fairy Queen

Arthaus Musik DVD

Nickolas [sic] Kok leads a springy performance from the pit.

Francis Muzzu, Opera Now ****

Iphigénie en Aulide

Staatsoper Stuttgart

Nicholas Kok, in Stuttgart auch als Dirigent bei Orpheus und Eurydike präsent, generiert mit dem Staatsorchester Stuttgart einen durchgehend einfühlsam inspirierten Sound, Pastelltöne in den lyrischen und forderndes Forte in den martialischen Passagen. Insgesamt hohe Gluck-Kompetenz.

Ralf Siepmann, Opernnetz

All diese besonderen Akzente arbeitete der konzentriert agierende Dirigent Nicholas Kok mit dem Ensemble mustergültig heraus. Alle Sängerinnen und Sänger befolgten hier Glucks Anweisung einer schlichten und liedhaften Melodik voll tragischer Spannung.

Alexander Walther, Online Merker

Juli gezeigten bravourösen Stuttgarter Inszenierung, wo die sängerischen Protagonisten Orphée (Luciano Botelho), Euridice (mit ihrem auf die beiden Sopranistinnen Irma Mihelic und Meike Hartmann verteilten Part) und L’Amour (Maria Koryagova) zusammen mit dem Stuttgarter Staatsopernchor, den Solisten und dem Corps de ballet des Stuttgarter Balletts zu den Klängen des Stuttgarter Staatsorchesters unter der musikalischen Leitung von Nicholas Kok ein harmonisch in sich gerundetes Gesamtkunstwerk präsentierten.

Dr. Markus Fischer, Allgemeine Deutsche Zeitung Online

The Moth Requiem

Signum Classics (SIGCD368)

Terrific stuff, with already the feel of a classic, and admirably served by the BBC singers plus alto flute and three harps, and the conductor Nicholas Kok.

Stephen Plaistow, Gramophone Magazine

We expect virtuosity from the BBC Singers, but this performance leaves one gaping in admiration... It is impossible to imagine a more favourable way of experiencing this enthralling music than by listening to this superbly engineered and presented release.

William Hedley, International Record Review

The Moth Requiem, The Nash Ensemble

Wigmore Hall

Running through the concert was the sure direction of Nicholas Kok, whose clarity as a conductor was a model of its kind. A remarkable evening

Colin Clarke, Opera Today

An invigorating performance conducted by Nicholas Kok

Richard Fairman, Financial Times ****

Moth Requiem - UK Premiere

Cadogan Hall, BBC Proms

The Monday-lunchtime recital by the BBC Singers with members of the Nash Ensemble, under Nicholas Kok, showed that Cadogan Hall is tremendously hospitable, too, to a small chorus, albeit one of unsurpassed professional dexterity. Their stimulating programme united ancient, modern and brand-new English music.

Paul Driver, The Sunday Times

The BBC Singers plus players from the Nash Ensemble gave a virtuoso performance.

Michael Church, The Independent

Nicholas Kok’s Repertoire List

Repertoire List

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