Sir Nicholas Kenyon was born in 1951 and read History at Balliol College, Oxford. He worked for the English Bach Festival and the BBC Music Department as well as working as a freelance writer on music, and joined The New Yorker as a music critic from 1979-82. On returning to Britain, he became music critic for The Times and the Music Editor of The Listener. He was appointed Editor of the journal Early Music in 1983, and in 1987 became Chief Music Critic of The Observer. In 1991 he was Artistic Adviser to the South Bank Centre’s festival Mozart Now, which won a Royal Philharmonic Society award.
In March 1992 he was appointed Controller, BBC Radio 3, and was responsible for the award-winning seasons Fairest Isle (1995) and Sounding the Century (1997-1999). He was appointed Director of the BBC Proms from the 1996 season and moved to the new post of Controller, BBC Proms and Millennium Programmes in November 1998. He oversaw the BBC’s programming for the millennium celebrations, and in 2000 became Controller BBC Proms, Live Events and Television Classical Music. He became Managing Director of the Barbican Centre in October 2007.
or many years he was a member of the Arts Council’s Music Advisory Panel and the South Bank Centre’s Music Advisory Panel, and he was a board member of London Arts. He is now a member of the Board of English National Opera, a Governor of Wellington School, a member of the Board of Management of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and a Trustee of the Dartington Hall Trust. In autumn 2006 he was a Visiting Fellow of All Souls College Oxford.
In 2008 he was knighted in the New Years Honours list. He is married with four children and lives in London.