Nicolette Fraillon began her music studies on violin and piano at an early age. At 16 she conducted her first concert with the Victorian Junior Symphony Orchestra. She graduated on viola from Melbourne University in 1982, gaining an equal first place in her year in Performance. From 1984 to 1987 she furthered her instrumental studies at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna and 1987 to ’88 in Hannover. During her time in Germany and Austria, Nicolette toured with many orchestras including the Salzburger Chamber Ensemble and the Chamber Orchestra of Bassano; and was a member of the Haydn Quartet, based at the Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt.
In 1990 Nicolette moved to the Netherlands where she became Assistant Musical Director for the 1991-92 season ofLes Misérables in Amsterdam and The Hague. In 1992 she was admitted to the Netherlands Broadcasting Association’s International Conductors’ Masterclass, resulting in a performance with the Dutch Radio Symphony Orchestra in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. This led to an invitation to conduct for the Nederlands Dans Theater. She was then invited to become Music Director and Chief Conductor of the National Ballet of the Netherlands; working with such renowned choreographers as Hans van Manen, Toer van Schayk, Rudi van Dantzig and Krzystof Pastor; and conducting numerous world premieres. During the following five years she worked with the North Holland Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Noord Nederlands Orchestra, the Gelders Orchestra in Arnhem, the Limburg Symphony Orchestra, the Residentie Orchestra in The Hague, the Kanazawa Chamber Orchestra (Japan) and the Finnish Ballet (Helsinki). In 1998 she took up the position of Director at the School of Music, Australian National University, and continued her conducting work with the West Australian Ballet, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Youth Orchestra and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra.
She debuted with The Australian Ballet in 2002, conducting Spartacus, and was then invited by David McAllister to become Music Director and Chief Conductor, beginning in January 2003. Since joining the company, Nicolette has conducted all programmes for The Australian Ballet, including six overseas tours, and has been a guest conductor for the San Francisco Ballet. Following The Australian Ballet’s 2005 tour to the UK, Nicolette was in 2006 invited back to conduct The Sleeping Beauty with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. In 2007 Nicolette guested with the New York City Ballet. In 2008 she returned to the Birmingham Royal Ballet for a Nutcracker season, then finished the year with a New Years Gala in Skopje with the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra.