Daniel Harding

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Daniel Harding (2011)

Daniel John Harding CBE (born 31 August 1975) is a British conductor.


Harding was born in Oxford. He studied trumpet at Chetham's School of Music and was a member of the National Youth Orchestra at age 13.[1] At age 17, Harding assembled a group of musicians to perform Pierrot Lunaire of Arnold Schoenberg, and sent a tape of the performance to Simon Rattle in Birmingham. After listening to this tape, Rattle hired Harding as his assistant at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for a year, from 1993 to 1994. Harding then attended the University of Cambridge, but after his first year at university, Claudio Abbado named him his assistant with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.[2] Harding first conducted the Berlin Philharmonic at age 21. At the time of his first conducting appearance at The Proms in 1996, he was then the youngest-ever conductor to appear there.[3] Harding has stated that he has never had formal conducting lessons.[4] He is a former Seiji Ozawa Fellow in conducting at Tanglewood Music Center.[5]

In 1997, Harding was the Music Director of the Ojai Music Festival alongside pianist Emanuel Ax. Harding has been music director of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra (1997–2000), the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (1999–2003) and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (2003–2008). Harding now has the title of conductor laureate with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. He conducted the 2005 opening night at La Scala, Milan in Idomeneo, as a substitute after the resignation of Riccardo Muti earlier in 2005.[6]

In 2004, Harding was appointed principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), as of 2006. One of his new projects with the LSO involved the Sound Adventures program for new compositions.[7] With the LSO, he has conducted a commercial recording of the opera Billy Budd for EMI Classics.[8] He became the Principal Conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2007. In September 2009, he extended his contract as the orchestra's principal conductor through 2012.[9] In April 2013, the orchestra further announced the extension of Harding's contract to 2015.[10] With the orchestra, he has recorded commercially for the Sony Classical label.[11] In June 2015, the Orchestre de Paris announced the appointment of Harding as its 9th principal conductor, effective September 2016.[12] Harding concluded his tenure in the Orchestre de Paris post following the close of the 2018-2019 season.[13] In October 2018, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra announced the extension of Harding's contract as principal conductor through 2023, along with granting him the new title of konstnärlig ledare (artistic leader).[14]

Outside of Europe, in September 2010, Harding took the title of music partner of the New Japan Philharmonic.[15] In April 2012, Harding became artistic director of the Ohga Hall in Karuizawa, Japan.[16]

Harding was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2021 New Year Honours for services to music.[17]

Harding has two children, Adele and George, from his past marriage to Béatrice Muthelet, a violist and co-principal violist of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. The marriage ended in divorce.[4] Harding is a particular fan of the football club Manchester United. Harding is a licensed airline pilot, and in 2019 had announced his intention in 2020 to take a sabbatical from conducting to be a commercial pilot with Air France, plans now delayed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.[18]

In 2021 Harding conducted the annual Vienna Philharmonic’s Summer Night Concert for the first time, and also was the first British conductor to lead this concert.


  1. ^ Robert Hanks (10 December 2005). "Daniel Harding: Lightning conductor". The Independent. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 31 August 2007.
  2. ^ Michael Henderson (30 July 2006). "Daniel Harding: Conducting his life with brio". The Observer. Retrieved 6 January 2007.
  3. ^ Stephen Moss (19 October 2004). "Prodigy on the podium". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
  4. ^ a b Michael White (27 February 2011). "Prodigy Ages into a Merely Young Conductor". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
  5. ^ "The Classical Review » » Turnage premiere spotlights program of hope with Harding, Boston Symphony". theclassicalreview.com. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  6. ^ Barbara McMahon (8 December 2005). "Milan's opera world divided as British conductor takes on La Scala". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2007.
  7. ^ Edward Seckerson (22 March 2007). "Daniel Harding: LSO's boy wonder". The Independent. Retrieved 23 March 2007.[dead link]
  8. ^ Andrew Clements (19 September 2008). "Classical review: Britten: Billy Budd, Gunn/Bostridge/Saks/LSO & Chorus/Harding". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
  9. ^ Bo Löfvendahl (17 September 2009). "SR förlänger med dirigent". Svenska Dagbladet. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  10. ^ "Harding kvar hos Radiosymfonikerna". Svenska Dagbladet. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  11. ^ Tim Ashley (11 November 2010). "Strauss: Oboe Concerto; Serenade in E Flat; Suite in B Flat – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
  12. ^ "Daniel Harding nouveau directeur musical de l'Orchestre de Paris et Thomas Hengelbrock chef associé à partir de la saison 2016–2017" (PDF) (Press release). Orchestre de Paris. 11 June 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 June 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  13. ^ "Daniel Harding quitte l'Orchestre de Paris". France Musique. 30 January 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  14. ^ "Daniel Harding förlänger till 2023 – tar Radiosymfonikerna på omfattande turné" (Press release). Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Berwaldhallen. 17 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  15. ^ "Daniel Harding Music Partner of NJP" (Press release). New Japan Philharmonic. 1 September 2010. Archived from the original on 3 September 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  16. ^ "Daniel Harding Selected as Karuizawa Ohga Hall's First Artistic Director" (Press release). Ohga Hall, Karuizawa. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  17. ^ "No. 63218". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2020. p. N8.
  18. ^ Richard Fairman (16 June 2020). "Conductor-pilot Daniel Harding on going from podium to cockpit". Financial Times. Retrieved 18 June 2020.

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Thomas Hengelbrock
Music Director, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Bremen
Succeeded by
Paavo Järvi
Preceded by
Manfred Honeck
Principal Conductor, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by