Edward Gardner (conductor)

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Edward Gardner in September 2011

Edward Gardner OBE (born 22 November 1974) is an English conductor.


Gardner was born in Gloucester,[1] and sang as a chorister at Gloucester Cathedral. As a youth, he played piano, clarinet and organ.[2] He attended the King's School, Gloucester and Eton College. At the University of Cambridge, he continued as a music student, and was a choral scholar in King's College Choir. He had begun choral conducting at Eton, and continued conducting at Cambridge.[3] He also studied at the Royal Academy of Music, where his teachers included Colin Metters.[4] He graduated from the RAM in 2000.

From 1997 until 2002, Gardner was Musical Director of Wokingham Choral Society, a post previously held by Graeme Jenkins, Paul Daniel, and Stephen Layton. In 1999, whilst still a student at the Royal Academy of Music, Gardner became a repetiteur at the Salzburg Festival at the invitation of Michael Gielen, when another repetiteur had become ill.[5] Gardner subsequently served as an assistant conductor to Mark Elder at The Hallé Orchestra for 3 years.[6] In 2003, Gardner was named music director of Glyndebourne on Tour, and held the post from 2004[7] to 2007.

In 2005, Gardner was a winner of the Young Artist prize of the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS).[8] In March 2006, he was appointed music director of English National Opera.[9][10] He formally took up the post in May 2007, with an initial contract of 3 years.[11] Although there had not been any formal press announcements of Gardner extending his ENO contract, he publicly stated in 2011 his plans to work with ENO until at least 2015.[12] In January 2014, ENO announced the scheduled conclusion of Gardner's tenure as music director in 2015.[13]

In September 2010, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra announced the appointment of Gardner as its next principal guest conductor, effective September 2011, with an initial contract of 3 years, for 3–4 weeks of concerts per season.[14][15] He concluded his tenure as CBSO principal guest conductor in July 2016.[16] Outside the UK, in February 2013, Gardner was simultaneously named the next principal guest conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, effective August 2013, and the orchestra's next principal conductor effective with the 2015–2016 season. His initial contract as principal conductor was for 3 years.[17][18] In January 2017, the orchestra announced the extension of Gardner's contract in Bergen through 2021.[19] In September 2019, the orchestra further extended Gardner's Bergen contract through 2023.[20]

Gardner had made his guest-conducting debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) in 2003. In July 2019, the LPO announced the appointment of Gardner as its next principal conductor, effective with the 2021-2022 season, with an initial contract of 5 years.[21]

Gardner has conducted several recordings for EMI Classics, including collaborations with Alison Balsom and Kate Royal.[4][22][23] He has also signed a recording contract with Chandos Records,[24][25] which has included recordings of music by Witold Lutosławski[26][27][28] and Benjamin Britten.[29]


In 2008, the RPS named Gardner its Conductor of the Year.[30] Gardner was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to music.[31][32]

Personal life[edit]

Gardner has a son, Charlie, born in March 2010,[2][33] from his past relationship with Alison Balsom.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Christopher Morley (15 November 2007). "From opera pit to podium of the CBSO". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
  2. ^ a b Andrew Clark (11 September 2010). "Edward Gardner: 'success is a two-edged sword'". Financial Times. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  3. ^ Neil Fisher (18 May 2007). "Gladiator at the Coliseum". The Times. London. Retrieved 16 May 2008.
  4. ^ a b Michael Church (21 June 2009). "Edward Gardner: The man who rescued opera". The Independent. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  5. ^ Charlotte Higgins (19 April 2007). "Enter the young pretender". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
  6. ^ Neil Fisher (12 August 2005). "The good terrorists?". The Times. London. Retrieved 16 May 2008.
  7. ^ Louise Jury (8 March 2006). "Rising star of British music becomes ENO director at age of 31". The Independent. Retrieved 8 December 2007.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Emma Love (30 April 2006). "Rising star: Edward Gardner, conductor". The Observer. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
  9. ^ Richard Morrison (8 March 2006). "Young star takes baton in gamble to revive ENO". The Times. London. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
  10. ^ Charlotte Higgins (8 March 2006). "Troubled opera company picks young conductor". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
  11. ^ Rupert Christiansen (20 September 2007). "ENO needs a fresh beginning". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 July 2008.
  12. ^ Rupert Christiansen (1 June 2011). "Edward Gardner interview for Simon Boccanegra". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  13. ^ Mark Brown (23 January 2014). "English National Opera's Edward Gardner to leave". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  14. ^ "Edward Gardner appointed as Principal Guest Conductor of City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra" (Press release). City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. 10 September 2010. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  15. ^ Christopher Morley (24 September 2010). "Dream come true for Edward Gardner". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  16. ^ Rian Evans (14 July 2016). "CBSO/Gardner: Falstaff review – played in the highest of end-of-term spirits". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  17. ^ "Et kupp for Harmonien". Norwegian Radio (NRK). 19 February 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  18. ^ "Edward Gardner to head the Bergen Philharmonic". Gramophone. 18 February 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  19. ^ Britt Sørensen (5 January 2017). "Edward Gardner får fornyet kontrakt med BFO". Bergens Tidende. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  20. ^ "Edward Gardner forlenger med Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester" (Press release). Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. 6 September 2019. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  21. ^ "Next Principal Conductor announced" (Press release). London Philharmonic Orchestra. 25 July 2019. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  22. ^ Geoff Brown (1 May 2009). "Kate Royal: Midsummer Night". The Times. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  23. ^ Alan Franks (11 September 2009). "Alison Balsom: 'don't compare me to Katherine Jenkins'". The Times. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  24. ^ Petroc Trelawny (15 October 2009). "English music desperately needs someone to replace the much-missed Richard Hickox (Music blog entry)". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  25. ^ Fiona Maddocks (2 May 2010). "Gerald Finley: Great Operatic Arias(Chandos Opera in English)". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  26. ^ Andrew Clements (14 October 2010). "Lutosławski: Concerto for Orchestra; Symphony No 3; Chain 3 – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  27. ^ Andrew Clements (1 September 2011). "Lutosławski: Chantefleurs et Chantefables; Les Espaces du Sommeil; Paroles Tissées, etc – review: Crowe/Spence/Purves/BBC SO/Gardner (Chandos)". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  28. ^ Fiona Maddocks (17 November 2012). "Lutoslawski: Orchestral Works III – review". The Observer. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  29. ^ Andrew Clements (17 March 2011). "Britten: Cello Symphony; Symphonic Suite from Gloriana etc – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  30. ^ Michael Church (21 June 2009). "Edward Gardner: The man who rescued opera". The Independent. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  31. ^ "No. 60173". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 2012. p. 10.
  32. ^ "Honours for Branagh and Jowell". BBC. 16 June 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  33. ^ Michael Tumelty (28 April 2010). "Raising the bar". The Herald. Retrieved 16 May 2010.

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Louis Langrée
Music Director, Glyndebourne on Tour
Succeeded by
Robin Ticciati
Preceded by
Paul Daniel
Music Director, English National Opera
Succeeded by
Mark Wigglesworth
Preceded by
Andrew Litton
Chief Conductor, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Succeeded by