Niklas Willén, the finest Swedish conductor of his generation, has held positions as Chief Conductor of the WDR Radio Orchestra Cologne, General Music Director of the Volkstheater Rostock and Chief Conductor of the North German Philharmonic Rostock, Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Chief Conductor of the Sønderjyllands Symphony Orchestra in Denmark and Chief Conductor of the Sundsvall Chamber Orchestra. He was born in Stockholm where he studied conducting and composition at the Royal College of Music with conducting teachers including Jorma Panula.
Current and recent engagements include his debut with the Staatskapelle Weimar, performing Fidelio at the German National Theatre, return engagements with the Tonkünstler Orchester, Warsaw Philharmonic, the Malmö Opera and Norrlands Opera. Further engagements have seen Niklas Willén tour in Europe with the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra whilst returning to major orchestras like the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Flanders Philharmonic and Ulster Orchestra.
Niklas Willén’s career is increasingly focused in Germany, throughout Scandinavia and the Nordic countries with several of the principal orchestras of Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland and the major Swedish opera houses conducting the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony Orchestra and Iceland Symphony Orchestra with forays beyond that have seen him conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Flanders, Brabants Orkest and Noordhollands Philharmonisch Orkest in the Netherlands the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Germany as well as the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and Ulster Orchestra, and having spectacular successes conducting the Swedish Radio Choir.
An unwavering list of fine concert reviews range from Germany “The Swedish Niklas Willén could motivate his orchestra to a really burning emphasis” (Süddeutsche Zeitung) to Sweden with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra “Beethoven’s 7th Symphony was in a class of its own …” (Dagens Nyheter) attest to his ability.
He has also been active in opera at Göteborg’s Opera, the Royal Theatre in Stockholm, the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo, the Greek National Opera in Athens, and the Volkstheater Rostock conducting productions of “Il Barbière de Siviglia”, “Flying Dutchman”, “Madame Butterfly”, “Turandot”, “Manon Lescaut”, “La Traviata”, “Rigoletto”, and premières of several new works that have included Peter Bengtson’s opera “The Maidens”, and he also conducts productions for Stockholm’s “Folkoperan” and Värmlandsoperan in Karlstad.
Niklas Willén has strong, distinct affiliations to repertoire of the classical, romantic and contemporary eras and he has become a busy recording artist making CDs with orchestras such as the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Royal Opera in Stockholm, Göteborgs Symphony Orchestra, Malmö Opera, Sønderjyllands Symphony Orchestra (Prokoviev’s complete Piano Concertos; “Willén is a superbly sympathetic partner, coaxing mischief from the orchestra to match Marshev at his cheekiest”, “Stunning and superb” and in Nielsen, “Willén’s Nielsen is very adroitly paced …… Willén’s is a great performance …… a classic Helios Overture”), Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, Sundsvall Chamber Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland (Volume 2 of Naxos’ complete orchestral music by Alfvén: “Listen as Niklas Willén teases the skittish polka (No. 6) from Alfvén’s ‘The Prodigal Son’ ballet suite, or steers his players through the vehement fugue that rounds out his Symphony No. 2, and you’ll appreciate why this release commands unreserved praise.”).