Nicolas Ellis is the Artistic Director, Conductor and Founder of the Orchestre de l’Agora and currently serves as Artistic Partner to the Orchestre Métropolitain and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Mr. Ellis appeared as guest conductor with Les Violons du Roy, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Orchestre de chambre I Musici de Montréal, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, the Orchestre Métropolitain, Symphony Nova Scotia, the Orchestre classique de Montréal, the Ottawa Symphony, the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. He also regularly collaborates with the Opéra de Montréal’s Atelier lyrique. During the 2021-2022 season, in addition to his guest conducting engagements, he will act as Assistant Conductor at the Opéra Comique in Paris alongside conductor Raphaël Pichon and the Ensemble Pygmalion, on a new production of Fidelio (Fall 2021). In January 2022, he will also act as cover conductor to Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra for recordings that will be released under the label Deutsche Grammophon.
Nicolas Ellis has performed with renowned artists including Jean-Guihen Queyras, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Julie Boulianne, Hélène Guilmette, Karina Gauvin, Anthony Roth Constanzo and Charles Richard-Hamelin.
In 2013, he founded the Orchestre de l’Agora, an orchestra now recognized on the Montreal scene for its artistically audacious programs and its social engagement. The ensemble has joined force with Share the Warmth Foundation, Les Porteurs de musique and the Espace Transition of the Hôpital Ste-Justine, to give workshops, music lessons and concerts to children from underprivileged neighbourhoods. Agora also presents concerts in places where people frequently lack access to live classical music, such as psychiatric centres, shelters and elderly homes. During the 2021-2022 season, Agora will embark on a new concert series at the Prison Bordeaux in the north of Montreal. On April 22, 2020, the Orchestre de l’Agora donated 138 000$ to Earth Day Canada, the Sierra Club Canada and Nature Conservancy of Canada through the Gala de la Terre, a major fundraising event to protect the St-Laurent River estuary. The concerts of Agora have been recorded and broadcast by Radio-Canada and CBC Music, including a production of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw in collaboration with the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal. During the 2021-2022 season, Agora will perform Bach’s complete Brandenburg concertos, as part of the Montreal Bach Festival. The orchestra will undertake a series of seven concerts across Québec and Ontario and will renew its status of “resident orchestra” at the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal.
Nicolas Ellis has participated in a number of conducting workshops, most notably at the Verbier Festival, assisting Maestro Valery Gergiev, the Aspen Music Festival where he studied with Robert Spano, and at the Accademia Chigiana di Siena with Gianluigi Gelmetti.
He is the recipient of the 2017 Bourse de carrière Fernand-Lindsay and was named Revelation of the Year 2018-2019 by Radio-Canada. He is also the recipient of the Heinz Unger Award 2015 sponsored by the Ontario Arts Council. More recently, he won the Prix Goyer Mécénat Musica 2021.