Nicholas Michalakis was born in Athens in 1960. Showing an aptitude for composition at an early age he started his musical education with private piano and music theory lessons. In 1972 he enrolled at the Hellenic Conservatory, where he wrote his first compositions including works for large orchestra and developed his interest in conducting. In the summer of 1976 he attended the Salzburg conducting course as an auditor and in the summer of 1977 the choral conducting summer course of Harvard University. In 1978 Nicholas Michalakis graduated from the Athens College High School and from the Hellenic Conservatory with the years First Prize for Performance. From 1978 until 1984 he studied conducting, composition and piano at the University of Chicago and at the Musik Hochschule in Graz/ Austria. While in Austria he benefited significantly from attending opera and concert rehearsals as well as the recording sessions of Herbert von Karajan and Karl Böhm in Vienna and Salzburg.
In 1984 Nicholas Michalakis was awarded the First Prize at the International Conducting Contest of the Royal Academy of Music where he did his postgraduate training in the three year Advanced Conducting Course, on which only three conductors were admitted every year. The Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation awarded him a scholarship for his postgraduate work at the Royal Academy of Music. He subsequently worked with orchestras, ensembles for modern music and operas, mainly in Europe and Greece building an extensive repertoire in opera and symphonic music.
In February 1994 Nicholas Michalakis started the cooperation with the Philharmonia Orchestra London, conducting them on tour in Athens at their first ever concerts in the (then newly-built) Athens Concert Hall, „the Megaron“. He worked with this Orchestra until 1998 performing concerts at the Royal Festival Hall and other venues, with internationally acclaimed soloists of the calibre of Nikolai Demidenko, Yvonne Kenny, Tasmin Little and Peter Donohoe. They performed a number of significant works together including Mahlers Fourth Symphony, Strawinskys complete Firebird, Bartóks Third Piano Concerto, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra and Don Juan, Brahms’ Fourth Symphony, Schumanns Piano Concerto and Dvo?ák’ 8th Symphony. In February 2000 he began a relationship with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra recording Richard Strauss´An Alpine Symphony, an impressive work requiring one of the largest orchestras in the classical repertoire.
In September 2004 Nicholas Michalakis made his debut at the Berlin Philharmonie conducting an important concertante performance of Richard Strauss opera Elektra, with the Robert Schumann Philharmonie and a top international cast that included Eva Johansson as Elektra, Nancy Gustafson as Chrysothemis, Wolfgang Schöne as Orest, Hanna Schwarz as Klytemnestra and Siegfried Jerusalem as Aegisth. The Elektra production is currently in discussion to be recorded and presented in concert in Athens and New York.