Allan Nilles

Born in Wheaton, Illinois, USA

Member since 2015-05-01

“The first time I saw the Berliner Philharmoniker play live was in Lucerne in 2013. The concert was virtually sold out and the only way to see the concert was to buy a ticket for 420 Swiss Francs. Somehow I actually convinced myself to buy the ticket, and it was completely worth it, because after hearing the Philharmoniker I knew that I had to find a way to play in that orchestra! And I found it. After winning the audition I expected to feel an overwhelming joy right away, but it was more surreal at first. I had to ask myself ‘Am I really a part of this orchestra now?’ But reality really sets in when I perform with the orchestra: that's when I truly realise how lucky I am.”

A neighbour advised Allan Nilles’ parents to let their child learn an instrument as soon as possible as it would later increase his chances of getting a scholarship to Harvard or Yale University. As a result, he started receiving viola lessons when he was only three years old. His parents’ decision did not take him to Harvard or Yale, but to the Juilliard School where he studied under Heidi Castleman and Misha Amory. In 2011, he graduated with a Bachelor of Music. While still a student, he performed several times with violinist Itzhak Perlman in chamber music concerts as a member of the Perlman Music Program.

The Illinois-born musician gained his first orchestral experience at Tanglewood and with the New World Symphony Orchestra before he joined the viola section of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra in 2012. To continue his artistic development, Allan Nilles took part in the Lucerne Festival Academy in 2013, and in January 2015 he became a student of the Orchestra Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Only a month later he successfully auditioned for a position in the viola section of the orchestra, which he took up in May 2015. Music also plays an important role in his free time: The American calls himself a keen amateur composer, and writes short pieces and hip hop music. Another of his hobbies is reading.