Nicholas L. Wallin returns in 2021 for his 13th year as Music Director and Conductor of the Mid-Columbia Symphony. Wallin has garnered praise for his committed performances and his bold creative programming style, focusing on American music and collaborations with area musicians. While remaining firmly rooted in the standard symphonic repertoire, he is also an advocate for performing new music by living composers.
Wallin is a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and began his musical training there on piano and tuba. In 1991 he enrolled at Northwestern University, where he earned three degrees, a bachelor of arts in mathematics, a bachelor of music in tuba performance and a master of music in tuba performance.
Wallin has conducted numerous ensembles across the country including the Spokane Symphony and Hartford (CT) Opera Theater. He has served as guest conductor or adjudicator for orchestras and music festivals across Washington, Idaho Oregon, Illinois, and Michigan, and previously served as Music Director for the Washington-Idaho Symphony. In the summer of 2006, Wallin studied and conducted in St. Petersburg, Russia, as a participant in the International Academy of Advanced Conducting. His conducting teachers have included Gustav Meier, Markand Thakar, Akira Mori and Craig Kirchhoff, and he has conducted in workshops and masterclasses for numerous leading conductors, including Leonard Slatkin, David Zinman and Gunther Schuller.
After leaving Northwestern, he earned a master of music degree in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Conservatory of Music. At Peabody he was a student of Gustav Meier and a recipient of the Graduate Conducting Fellowship. In December 2004, he completed a doctor of musical arts degree in conducting, with a secondary area in music theory at the University of Minnesota, where he received a College of Liberal Arts Graduate Fellowship.
Wallin is also an Associate Professor and the Chair of the Department of Music at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, IL. At Lake Forest he conducts the orchestra and teaches courses in music theory. Prior to his appointment at Lake Forest, Wallin served on the faculty at Washington State University in Pullman. Wallin believes strongly in music education for all ages and enjoys speaking to organizations and music classes in the schools. He and his wife, Alice Swan, live in Evanston, IL with their sons, Rex and Enzo, and their pug dog, Aida.