Colin did a music degree at Manchester University and then went to the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) in Cincinnati, USA, to study for a Masters Degree in Orchestral Conducting. While at CCM, he was the Musical Director for the Cincinnati Sinfonietta and the Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Philharmonia and CCM Opera. He started work on a doctoral degree (also in Orchestral Conducting) but a year into that got a one-year position as Assistant Conductor to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, followed by a permanent position as Director of Orchestral Activities at Albion College in Michigan.
In May 2000, Colin was appointed Director of Music at the University of Portsmouth, where his duties initially included conducting the university ensembles and validating the BMus and MMus degree programmes offered by the Royal Marines School of Music. In September 2001, he founded the University of Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, and in September 2006 the University of Portsmouth Wind Band. In 2004 he brought the international chamber music series 'Music in the Round' to Portsmouth, initially at Portsmouth Cathedral and now at the Portsmouth Guildhall.
In 2015, his production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Allegro brought the University of Portsmouth Dramatic & Musical Society to international attention, with an interview broadcast on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme which was picked up by NPR in the USA. This production also won an 'Accolade of Excellence' at the National Operatic & Dramatic Association Southern Area Awards. After a six-year project working on Gilbert and Sullivan's The Yeomen of the Guard, Oxford University Press published a critical edition in November 2016, and this stimulated enough interest for another Today Programme interview.
Non-university commitments have included being the Musical Director for Stage One Youth Theatre and Farnham Amateur Operatic Society. There have also been guest conducting engagements with the Royal Marines Orchestra, the Havant Symphony Orchestra and Midland Sinfonia. In May 2014, Colin conducted the Göttingen Symphony Orchestra to a capacity audience in the 1200-seat Göttingen Stadhalle.