Nicholas Carthy studied at the Guildhall School of Music in London with Mary Peppin and John York, and in 1981 won an Austrian government scholarship to study at the Mozarteum Salzburg with Hans Leygraf. After completing his studies he was offered a post as Kapellmeister at the Landestheater in Salzburg where he made his operatic debut conducting Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro. During this time he was also an assistant at the Salzburg Festival, working closely with both Bernard Haitink and Sir Georg Solti.
From 1990 until 1993 Carthy was assistant to Daniel Barenboim, working on the Erato recording of Don Giovanni in Berlin, at the Chicago Symphony for the Mozart/DaPonte series, in Le Châtelet in Paris (Wozzeck), and in Bayreuth.
In June 1992, Nicholas Carthy was appointed Musical Director of the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana. Under his stewardship the orchestra received invitations to perform at the Lucerne Festival, the Concertgebouw and the Goldener Musikvereinssaal in Vienna. Carthy has conducted opera productions in Vienna, Salzburg, Oslo, Stockholm, Winterthur, Milan, Rome, Naples, Eugene and Tel Aviv. His repertoire ranges from Mozart to the contemporary. He conducted the first performances of Thomas Adès Powder Her Face in Sweden, Israel, Switzerland and Italy. A critical review in Opera magazine described the first performance in Italy as being “conducted with brilliant musicality.”
As a guest conductor Nicholas Carthy has worked with orchestras such as Camerata Academica Salzburg, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Stockholm, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra RAI di Torino, Orchestra San Carlo di Napoli, Accademia Filarmonica Roma, Orchestra Teatro Reggio Torino, Orchestra Sinfonica del Piemonte, L’Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino, Orchestra di Padua e del Veneto, Pomeriggi Musicale di Milano, Wiener Volksopernorchester, Israel Contemporary Players, Stadtorchester Winterthur, RSO Prague, Slovak Philharmonic, Slovenian Philharmonic, Orquesta de San Sebastian and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia di Roma, where he collaborated closely with Luciano Berio on several projects. He has worked with distinguished soloists including Radu Lupu, Alicia de Larrocha, Natalia Gutman, Viktoria Mullova, Waltraud Meier, Daniela Barcellona, Robert Dean Smith and Wolfgang Holzmair.
Beside his activities as a conductor, Nicholas Carthy is a much sought-after accompanist. He has performed in many of the great halls of the world such as Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall, Wigmore Hall, Bolshoi Theatre, Kölner Philharmonie, Wiener Konzerthaus, La Scala, La Fenice, Santa Cecilia, Gewandhaus Leipzig, and the Berlin State Opera, He has also performed at festivals including Salzburg, Bad Kissingen, München, Schleswig-Holstein and the Schubertiade in Hohenems.
His work as a musical educator has taken him all over the world. From 1996 to 2002 he was a guest professor at the opera school in Stockholm and is Musical Director of the Portland State University Summer Programme. He is Professor of Music and Opera Music Director at the University of Colorado, and visiting tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music. Carthy gives master classes in opera schools and conservatories throughout Europe and the U.S.A, as well as conducting youth orchestra seminars in Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Italy and Norway. He also sits on the jury of several international piano and singing competitions. Nicholas Carthy broadcasts regularly as conductor and pianist.
Nicholas Carthy will conduct at Rocky Ridge in 2020 and 2022.