Nicolas Ellis is Artistic Director and Conductor of the Orchestre de l’Agora in Montreal and Music Director of the Orchestre National de Bretagne. Since 2023, he is also the Principal Guest Conductor of Les Violons du Roy.
He currently stands out as one of the most active conductors on the Canadian musical scene, as well as for his artistic and social commitment within the Montreal community. Known for his versatility in a vast repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to contemporary music, Nicolas also distinguishes himself as a thoughtful programmer with a concern for the dramaturgical line that unites the works programmed. In recent years, he has acted as assistant conductor to Raphaël Pichon and his Ensemble Pygmalion in opera productions at the Opéra comique and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and has also held the position of Artistic Collaborator to the Orchestre Métropolitain and Yannick Nézet-Séguin from 2018 to 2023.
As a guest conductor, Nicolas has conducted the Vancouver Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the I Musici de Montréal Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. More recently, he has appeared with the Graz Opera and the San Diego Symphony and the 2024-2025 season will take him to conduct in Finland, Germany, Luxembourg and France.
In 2023, he won a JUNO award in the Classical Album of the Year – large ensemble category, with the Orchestre de l’Agora and violist Marina Thibeault for the album Viola Borealis. Agora also won the Prix Opus for Musical Event of the Year for its Gala de la Terre featuring Mahler’s 3rd Symphony. At the heart of Agora’s mission, Nicolas has set up projects with teenagers struggling with mental health problems, educational workshops and a series of monthly concerts at the Bordeaux Prison in Montreal.
Nicolas Ellis is the recipient of the 2017 Fernand Lindsay Career Grant and was also awarded the Prix Goyer Mécénat Musica 2021.