Daniel Harding

Introduction

Born in Oxford, Daniel Harding began his career assisting Sir Simon Rattle at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, with which he made his professional debut in 1994.  He went on to assist Claudio Abbado at the Berliner Philharmoniker and made his debut with the orchestra at the 1996 Berlin Festival. 

He is the new Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris, and continues his roles as Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.  He was recently honoured with the lifetime title of Conductor Laureate of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.  His previous positions include Principal Conductor and Music Director of the MCO (2003-2011), Principal Conductor of the Trondheim Symphony (1997-2000), Principal Guest Conductor of Sweden’s Norrköping Symphony (1997-2003), Music Director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (1997-2003), Music Partner of the New Japan Philharmonic and Artistic Director of the Ohga Hall in Karuizawa, Japan.

He is a regular visitor to the Vienna Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden (orchestras of which he has conducted at the Salzburg Festival), Royal Concertgebouw, Berliner Philharmoniker, Bavarian Radio, Leipzig Gewandhaus and the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala.  Other guest conducting engagements have included Münchner Philharmoniker, Orchestre National de Lyon, Oslo Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Orchestras and the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées.   Among the American orchestras with whom he has performed are the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

In 2005, he opened the season at La Scala, Milan, conducting a new production of Idomeneo.  He returned in 2007 for Salome, in 2008 for a double bill of Bluebeard’s Castle and Il Prigioniero, and most recently in 2011 for Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci, for which he was awarded the prestigious Premio della Critica Musicale “Franco Abbiati”.  His operatic experience also includes Ariadne auf Naxos, Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro at the Salzburg Festival with the Wiener Philharmoniker, The Turn of the Screw and Wozzeck at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich, Die Zauberflöte at the Wiener Festwochen and Wozzeck at the Theater an der Wien.  In the 2012/2013 season he returned to La Scala for Falstaff and made his debuts at both the Deutsche Staatsoper, Berlin and at the Wiener Staatsoper with Der fliegende Holländer.  Closely associated with the Aix-en-Provence Festival, he has conducted new productions of Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni, The Turn of the Screw, La Traviata, Eugene Onegin and Le nozze di Figaro and returns in 2017 for The Rake’s Progress. 

His recent recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, Mahler’s Symphony No. 10 with the Wiener Philharmoniker, and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks have both won widespread critical acclaim. For Virgin/EMI he has recorded Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Brahms’ Symphony Nos. 3 & 4 with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen; Billy Budd with the London Symphony Orchestra (winner of a Grammy Award for best opera recording), Don Giovanni and The Turn of the Screw (awarded the “Choc de l’Année 2002”, the “Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros” and a Gramophone award) both with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra; works by Lutosławski with Solveig Kringelborn and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and works by Britten with Ian Bostridge and the Britten Sinfonia (awarded the “Choc de l’Année 1998”).

In 2002, he was awarded the title Chevalier Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government and in 2012 he was elected a member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

For an up-to-date biography, please contact Henry Lindsay.

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Schedule

Philharmonie de Paris, PARIS

SCHUMANN: Das Paradies und die Peri

CONDUCTOR: DANIEL HARDING

SOPRANO: CHRISTIANE KARG
SOPRANO: KATE ROYAL
Mezzo Soprano: Gerhild Romberger
TENOR: ANDREW STAPLES
Tenor: Allan Clayton
Baritone: Matthias Goerne

Orchestre de Paris

Philharmonie de Paris, PARIS

SCHUMANN: Das Paradies und die Peri

CONDUCTOR: DANIEL HARDING

SOPRANO: CHRISTIANE KARG
SOPRANO: KATE ROYAL
Mezzo Soprano: Gerhild Romberger
TENOR: ANDREW STAPLES
Tenor: Allan Clayton
Baritone: Matthias Goerne

Orchestre de Paris

Berwaldhallen, STOCKHOLM

DVORAK: Othello Concert Overture
BOULEZ: Rituell, in memoriam Bruno Maderna
DVORAK: Concert for cello and orchestra nr 2 b-minor

CONDUCTOR: DANIEL HARDING

Violin: Malin Broman

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Berwaldhallen, STOCKHOLM

DVORAK: Othello Concert Overture
BOULEZ: Rituell, in memoriam Bruno Maderna
DVORAK: Concert for cello and orchestra nr 2 b-minor

CONDUCTOR: DANIEL HARDING

Violin: Malin Broman

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Gasteig Munich, MUNICH

VERDI: 'Falstaff'

CONDUCTOR: DANIEL HARDING

Soprano: Barbara Frittoli
Soprano: Laura Giordano
Mezzo Soprano: Laura Olverelli
TENOR: ANDREW STAPLES
Tenor: Alasdair Elliott
Tenor: Mikeldi Atxalandabaso
Baritone: Bryn Terfel
BARITONE: CHRISTOPHER MALTMAN
Bass: Mario Luperi

Orchestra and Choir of the Bavarian Radio

Gasteig Munich, MUNICH

VERDI: 'Falstaff'

CONDUCTOR: DANIEL HARDING

Soprano: Barbara Frittoli
Soprano: Laura Giordano
Mezzo Soprano: Laura Olverelli
TENOR: ANDREW STAPLES
Tenor: Alasdair Elliott
Tenor: Mikeldi Atxalandabaso
Baritone: Bryn Terfel
BARITONE: CHRISTOPHER MALTMAN
Bass: Mario Luperi

Orchestra and Choir of the Bavarian Radio

Berwaldhallen, STOCKHOLM

SCHUMANN: Scenes from Goethes "Faust"

CONDUCTOR: DANIEL HARDING

SOPRANO: CHRISTIANE KARG
Soprano: Katja Stuber
Mezzo Soprano: Wiebke Lehmkuhl
TENOR: ANDREW STAPLES
Baritone: Christian Gehaher
Bass: Franz-Josef Selig

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir

Berwaldhallen, STOCKHOLM

SCHUMANN: Scenes from Goethes "Faust"

CONDUCTOR: DANIEL HARDING

SOPRANO: CHRISTIANE KARG
Soprano: Katja Stuber
Mezzo Soprano: Wiebke Lehmkuhl
TENOR: ANDREW STAPLES
Baritone: Christian Gehaher
Bass: Franz-Josef Selig

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir

Seoul Arts Centre, SEOUL

MOZART: The Marriage of Figaro Overture
TURNAGAE: Trumpet Concerto
*** Interval ***
MAHLER: Symphony No. 4

CONDUCTOR: DANIEL HARDING

Trumpet: Håkan Hardenberger
SOPRANO: CHRISTIANE KARG

London Symphony Orchestra

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Press

Schumann

Faustszenen

Philharmonie de Paris

"A bold choice for Harding, but entirely justified by the burningly dramatic performance. Harding showed that Schumann’s allegedly awkward orchestration is often brilliantly original, particularly in the final scenes in heaven when he coaxed sounds of antique gravity from the strings."
Ivan Hewett, The Daily Telegraph, 22nd September 2016

Rameau & Berlioz

Symphonie Fantastique

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Harding’s own Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra are stylish in both. There’s some brazen playing to enjoy – the low brass in March to the Scaffold sound like a foghorn – but the impression of a lack of refinement is deceptive: the balance and pace are always tautly in check. Another Symphonie Fantastique, by the Concertgebouw, under Daniele Gatti, is released this month, but next to Harding’s it sounds grey.

Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 1st September 2016

Beethoven & Mahler

Edinburgh International Festival 2016

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Harding’s vast experience in Mahler shone through in his unflinching grasp of the composer’s great spans, but with an ear for the big gesture and the ability to cut through the swathe of sound to bring out telling details, including the more gemütlich moments like the fleeting violin solos of the first movement, or the occasional sweet string episodes in the Ländler.  That movement seemed perpetually to teeter on the brink of chaos, with swaggering brass and string playing that could, by turns, sound raw or refined (with some very cheeky rubato from the second violins), and the biting Rondo dissolved into a blissful central episode, where a beautiful trumpet solo was answered by smiling violins.  Harding’s interpretation seemed to grow in stature as the symphony progressed – you’ll go a long way to hear the great string span of the finale sounding as richly emotive as we heard tonight – and the delicate shading of the closing pages is something that I won’t forget in a hurry.  The audience sat in a rapt silence after the final chord died away, no one daring to clap and break the spell.  That’s the finest tribute you can pay to any Mahler 9. Simon Thompson, Seen and Heard, 20th August 2016
There was much to admire about the considered and very unhistrionic way that Daniel Harding navigated the great anguished swells, about the cleanliness of his gestures and the cool logic of his pacing. And there was plenty of fine playing from the Swedish orchestra of which he is Music Director: that fine-tuned elasticity that comes from excellent ensemble discipline.  Kate Molleson, Herald Scotland, 20th August 2016

Bartok / Dvorak

9th June 2016

London Symphony Orchestra, Barbican Centre

Harding brought an old-world flexibility to the Symphony, beginning far-away from the marked Allegro con brio, but how expressive and confiding it was and how persuasive were his emphases and ritardandos amidst the foot-stamping vitality; and there was room for shades and shadows that are rarely present in this outgoing masterpiece, bountiful of song and dance. Colin Anderson, Classical Source, 9th June 2016

Mahler

Symphony No. 2

Barbican Centre, London Symphony Orchestra

'Harding launched this huge work in the grandest style and the double-bass players responded with a violent shudder which set the tone of authenticity to the very end. He was attentive to the many nuances in the score. The massive structure of the opening ‘funeral march’ was wonderfully realised. Harding was in total command of his intentions and the LSO responded with splendour and beauty, the quietest passages being as effective as the explosions. The recapitulation caused hairs to stand up like Hitchcock achieves in his best movies. This was the life-force in full flow.'...'Harding was loving in his attention to detail and numerous expressive markings were scrupulously observed.'...'Honours can be shared around but the top accolade must go to Harding whose gut-wrenching way with so much of this music bore down on a capacity audience. It was a privilege to be there.' Edward Clark, Classical Source, 5th June 2016

Schumann

Faust-Szenen

Barbican Centre

"Harding conducted with a fine softness of palette and intimacy, drawing subtle playing from the LSO." Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 22.03.2016
'This performance by the LSO conducted by Daniel Harding, with a good-as-it-gets cast of Christian Gerhaher, Christiane Karg, Andrew Staples, Lucy Crowe and Matthew Rose, was as fine a showcase as you could reasonably hope.'...'The performance was full of highlights'...'Harding made a terrific case for it all. Great stuff.' Opera Now Magazine, May 2016

Mozart & Bruckner

London Symphony Orchestra

Barbican Centre

The transition to the coda was superbly managed, Harding bringing the symphony to a grand and exciting conclusion.

Christian Hoskins, Music OMH, 6th December 2015

Beethoven & Brahms

24th May 2015

London Symphony Orchestra, Barbican

Harding, meanwhile, conducted like one possessed. Unforgettable: the greatest performance of the work I’ve ever heard. Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 26th May 2015
Harding’s rapport with the LSO has deepened too. If there were some dangerously ponderous tempi in the Brahms, Harding drew excellent playing from the orchestra and everything had purpose and conviction. Neil Fisher, The Times, 26th May 2015
a generous and thrilling bit of music-making not just from Tetzlaff but also the LSO, galvanised into Rattle-level intensity and eagerness by Harding and their soloist Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk, 25th May 2015

Berg & Beethoven

January Concerts, 2015

Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France

Sous la baguette du britannique Daniel Harding, le Philharmonique s’attachera naturellement à les faire dialoguer, ayant convoqué pour l’occasion l’un de nos plus brillants archets : Christian Tetzlaff.
Thierry Hillériteau, Le Figaro, 7th January 2015
Sous la direction avisée du Britannique Daniel Harding, les musiciens exploreront les différences et les similitudes de Vienne à un siècle d'écart.  S. Ha, Valeurs actuelles, 9th January 2015
Daniel Harding manifestement très à l’aise avec cette œuvre démontre ici de belles qualités de chef Gilles Lesur, Bach Track, 10th January 2015

Mahler

Symphony No. 6 "Tragic"

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonie

Daniel Harding’s connection with the orchestra goes back two decades – he was Abbado’s assistant in the mid-90s – and although his substitution for the indisposed Kirill Petrenko occurred so late that it was only indicated by an insert into the programme, there was absolutely no sense of anything but unanimity between conductor and musicians. Harding’s gestures met with immediate and vivid responses, and the many treacherous tempo changes were navigated almost immaculately.

David Larkin, Bachtrack, 05 December 2014

Schumann

Scenes from Goethe's Faust

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

'Since Britten's pioneering version in 1972 (Decca), Schumann's late setting of extracts from Goethe's epic poem has enjoyed a charmed life on disc. Frühbeck de Burgos (EMI), Abbado (Sony) and Harnoncourt (RCO Live) are stiff competition for Harding, but the British conductor rises to the challenge magnificently in this live Bavaraian Radio recording, superlatively played and sung.'...'Harding scores with his casting'...'A record of the year, no doubt' Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 9th November 2014
Harding’s handling of the whole span of the score is also deeply impressive. The detail is telling but never overdone, the build up to the glorious peroration paced very expertly. Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 15th October 2014
This is a tremendous performance of a much underrated work that is full of dramatic and beautiful moments.  Bruce Reader, The Classical Reviewer, 12th November 2014

European Tour 2014

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Daniel Harding conducted the piece and lit up the score, revealing it's finest qualities.  Bernhard Hartmann, General Anzeiger, 22nd October 2014
The Swedish orchestra are comfortably in the top of the European Leagues. For the last eight years, Daniel Harding and the musicians of the orchestra have created a wonderful relationship. 
Werner Häußner, Der Westen, 21st October 2014

Mahler

9th Symphony, 26th October

London Symphony Orchestra, Barbican

The LSO players, as expected, sounded marvellous, but it was Harding’s overall vision of the piece that brought the piece to its full emotional impact.

Harding retained tight control of the orchestra throughout, ensuring that the complex counterpoint could always be heard with precision and brilliance.

Harding’s restrained interpretation was all the more moving. The orchestra adopted a lean rather than lush sound, allowing them to respond to the multitude of solos scattered throughout the movement.

a truly remarkable performance
Kevin W NG, Bach Track, 26th October 2014

Beethoven

Piano Concertos 3 & 4

Maria-João Pires & Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra

The cleanliness of these interpretations is reinforced by the sounds of Daniel Harding conducting his Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra - smooth, suave, lightly sprinkled with aftershave.  Geoff Brown, The Times, 18th July 2014

Watkins & Mahler

London Symphony Orchestra

Barbican

'a spectacular concert, superbly directed by Daniel Harding.' ... 'Vividness and freshness are just two qualities the orchestra, under Harding, brought out in Mahler’s score too. The whole orchestra combined to produce an astonishingly colourful sound, positively teeming with life in the dew-filled morning mist and cuckoo calls of the first movement, brimming over with excitement.' David Fay, Bach Track, 25th February 2014
'Mahler's First Symphony, coolly appraised by Harding until he reached the finale, which he launched with such violence that we were completely knocked off balance. Up to that point everything had been super-subtle, from the gradual erosion of the pastoral calm of the opening, to the elegiac mockery of the funeral march. Thereafter, visceral emotion predominated until we reached the exhilarating conclusion.' Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 25th February 2014
'Under Daniel Harding’s direction the London Symphony Orchestra cast a matching spell, at one point answering the flute’s busy monologue with a ravishing blend of high strings, woodwind, and harp.' ... 'Mahler’s First Symphony was a perfect sequel, and, in their precision of detail and command of big forms, Harding and the LSO made this a worthy tribute to their concert’s dedicatee, Claudio Abbado.' Michael Church, The Independent, 26th February 2014
'Harding’s Mahler was more virile than neurotic in its oxygenated panorama of sky and forest, village and city, funeral procession and lovers’ clinch. His tempi were brisk, lightly dressed with portamenti from the strings, the colours bright and alive.' Anna Picard, The Times, February 25th, 2014

Schubert & Mahler

London Symphony Orchestra

Barbican

'Harding’s aristocratic phrasing felt more as though a maid was gently drawing aside satin curtains on a sunny morning. The unanimity of the LSO strings (violins divided antiphonally) was exquisite.'...'Harding teased and cajoled the feather-light orchestration with gestures as graceful as the music itself. In the second movement’s opening figure he wrought a delicious tenuto just before the descending phrase, and the subtly ornamented repeat had a special charm.' Mark Valencia, The Arts Desk, November 21st 2013
'The performance was sheer delight. If the first movement was taken a little faster than traditionalists might expect, it was light and airy, beautifully poised, and gently phrased with the utmost affection. In less skilled hands the longish slow movement can sometimes outstay its welcome, but not here, since under Harding’s eloquent direction it floated elegantly and charmingly by. A rhythmically buoyant Minuet, with the Trio section convincingly taken at the same tempo, was succeeded by a deliciously pointed finale. There was no self-conscious ‘interpretation’ in Harding’s performance: warmth and direct expression were at its core.'...'He [Harding] had been the guiding light and the hero of the evening.' Alan sanders, Classical Source, November 22nd 2013

Stravinksy

London Symphony Orchestra

Barbican

Piloted this time by Daniel Harding, Stravinsky’s extravagantly orchestrated complete score (which would later be filleted to become three suites) was airborne again, scene-setting and vivid narrative at the forefront of Harding’s conception, subtle enough to be a fairy-tale, sufficiently edgy and dramatic to be a Russian Grand Opera in the Rimsky-Korsakov mould. Harding exploited a wide dynamic and expressive range and there were many ear-grabbing textures (antiphonal violins an aural plus-point, and Edward Vanderspar’s viola was miraculously clear in ‘Round Dance of the Princesses’), all worked through as Fine Art, and with much sensuality. Colin Anderson, Classical Source, October 2013,

Bruckner

Symphony No.6

London Symphony Orchestra, Barbican Hall, London

A remarkable performance.... one of the most dramatic and unexpected readings of a Bruckner opening movement most of us are likely to hear. But Harding was not impulsive for the sake of it. The long paragraphs of the adagio, some of the most expressively lonely pages that even Bruckner ever penned, with the plangent oboe solo beautifully played by Juan Pechuan Ramirez, were given plenty of room to breathe. The symphony's underlying insecurity can never be fully quieted, however, and Harding racked up the tension once more in the nightmarish contrasts and fragmentary writing of the short (by Brucknerian standards) scherzo and finale Martin Kettle, The Guardian, 13 April 2012
Harding laid the whole thing out before us, plain and unexaggerated. If that makes it sound dull, it wasn’t. There were moments that came at us with the power and menace of a galloping horse; elsewhere, notably at the beginning of the second movement, the sound seemed to well up from somewhere deep and dark. Hard against long interludes of rapt contemplation came passages in which the tension seemed about to burst. Without interfering with the forward momentum or the solidity of Bruckner’s structure, Harding and his players made the contrasts count. Nick Kimberley, The Evening Standard, 13 April 2012

Richard Strauss

Don Juan

London Symphony Orchestra, Barbican Hall London

...a performance that was often magnificent. The piece itself admirably suits Harding's slightly detached way with Strauss, which allows him to be sensuous yet never cloying. The mix of bitonal harmonies and exquisite textures was superbly negotiated and displayed. And the playing was glorious. Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 13 February 2011

Berio: Sinfonia; Liszt: Piano Concerto no. 1; Berlioz: Harold in Italy

London Symphony Orchestra, Barbican Hall London

Daniel Harding has, I suspect, done little finer than this extraordinary LSO concert about iconoclasm. His programme on this occasion (Berio's Sinfonia, Liszt's First Piano Concerto and Berlioz's Harold in Italy) consisted of works that rewrite rules, and you couldn't help but feel that their rebellion provoked him to give of his best.
Harding's conducting was all monumentality and fire – it felt a bit superhuman, as Liszt always should… The LSO is rarely bettered in Berlioz, and Harding, whether summoning up the sound of distant bells or presiding over the frenzy of the brigands' orgy, was electrifying. Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 10 November 2010

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Recordings

RAMEAU & BERLIOZ

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14

Rameau: Hippolyte et Aricie: Orchestral Suite

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Harding

Harmonia Mundi