He also conducts symphony orchestras, particularly in Denmark and Sweden; Holten has led choral groups outside of Scandinavia, most notably the BBC Singers
. In 1996 Holten decided to break with Ars Nova
and founded a new vocal ensemble, Musica Ficta. In addition to being renowned as an early music specialist, Holten is an advocate of new music, presenting more than 175 premieres of new works. In his own work, Holten's music likewise builds a bridge between old and new. Holten has arranged Carl Nielsen
's organ composition Commotio for orchestra, which was very well received in Denmark. His opera Gesualdo, which blends Don Carlo Gesualdo
's idiom into his own and is scored for Baroque period ensemble, was a controversial hit when it opened in 2003. Holten's opera Operation Orfeo is the most frequently staged Danish opera in history, achieving nearly 100 performances throughout Europe.