Nicholas McRoberts

Composer and Conductor




Nicholas McRoberts is an Australian-born conductor and composer, based in Paris, France. He is recognized on the international stage for his work as the artistic director of Opéra Montmartre in Paris and musical director of Opéra Biarritz. Nicholas McRoberts is regularly invited to conduct prestigious orchestras around the world. He studied conducting with Jorma Panula, János Fürst, Dejan Savić, and Robert Rosen. Beyond his duties as a musical director and conductor, Nicholas McRoberts is an award-winning composer. His catalog includes two operas, two symphonies, ballets, concertos, chamber music, and numerous pieces for voice and piano. He was commissioned by the Philharmonie de Paris to write a symphonic poem entitled Ozeano that was performed in June 2023 at the Cité de la Musique in Paris. His Symphony No. 1, performed by the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra under the composer's direction in August 2022, received a standing ovation at its premiere at Bulgaria Hall. His Adagio for Strings was recorded with the Jánaček Philharmonic in March 2021 and premiered by the Nürtinger Kammer Orkester in November 2021. The French premiere of the work was given by the Ensemble Orchestral de Biarritz under the direction of Yves Bouillier.


- École Normale de Paris - Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris - Victorian College of the Arts - Australian Young Conductors Program - Australian National Academy of Music - Conservatoire of Melbourne - Pioneer Young Composer’s Program


- Artistic Director Opéra Montmartre, Paris - Musical Director Opéra Biarritz - Principal Conductor Démos Orchestra of Grand Verdun, Philharmonie de Paris Victorian Youth Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Trinity College Chamber Orchestra, Melbourne Pioneer Young Composer’s Program, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra - Guest Conductor Sofia Philharmonic, Bulgaria Jánaček Philharmonic, Czech Republic Ensemble Balance, Stuttgart, Germany Opera of Stara Zagora, Bulgaria Opera of Ruse, Bulgaria Sinfonia Baltica, Slupsk, Poland Ruse Philharmonic, Bulgaria Košice Philharmonic, Slovakia Academia di Verona, Italy - Assistant Conductor to Bruno Weil Théâtre des Champs Élysées, Paris



What does music mean to you personally?

It’s a language beyond and before words. It’s deeper than love. More necessary than food. More lasting than any of us. Music helps us remember, make sense of our lives, and what it means to be human.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

Definitely. But also about hope and longing and loss and truth and beauty and sacrifice and jealousy and betrayal. Just that.

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?

An architect. I like imaging and building large structures like symphonies and operas.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about the future?

No. But we do need to really challenge our certainties and find new audiences. Classical music is not the problem - we are.

What do you envision the role of music to be in the 21st century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

Music in the 21st century needs to be like in the 19th century and before - an expression of truth and beauty - made to be played and listened to. We got lost in the 20th century when we stopped doing those things.

Do you think that the musician today needs to be more creative? What is the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

No. I think musicians today need to listen more to the audience. Classical music is the only genre where we think we know better than our audience. Creativity should be in the service of our audiences.

Do you think we as musicians can do something to attract the younger generation to music concerts? How would you do this?

I do a lot of work with younger generations creating concerts with them. At the opera I have students working on the costumes, the texts, that stage design. If they are part of a project they will come to see it.

Tell us about your creative process. What is your favorite piece (written by you) and how did you start working on it?

So far, my favourite piece is my “Adagio” for strings ( It started with a simple musical idea and I just kept pulling on the threads until the idea had become fully developed. I write at the piano and allow the music to decide where it goes.

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

Find something that speaks to you - that gives you emotion. Don’t listen to what you “should” like. Try different options and when you find what you like, listen to more of that. I personally love imperfect performances with profound emotion, like Richter, Callas, Celibidache.

Do you think about the audience when composing?

No. But I don’t ignore them either. If a piece is not enjoyable to play and listen to it is just mathematics - not music.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

I just finished an orchestral suite and I’m working on my 3rd Symphony. Also my Nocturnes will be released this year.