Edward Gardner


Edward Gardner is Chief Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he assumed in October 2015 leading their 250th anniversary gala concert. The coming season will see Edward touring the orchestra to cities including Berlin, Munich, London and Amsterdam and continuing his hugely successful relationship with Chandos Records.

Edward was Music Director of English National Opera for eight years until July 2015 and under his direction ENO presented a series of stellar productions, including Peter Grimes, Benvenuto Cellini, Meistersinger and Otello. He returned in Spring 2016 to conduct a new production of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde to critical acclaim. 

Edward continues to be in great demand on the international opera scene. He has an ongoing relationship with the Metropolitan Opera New York where he has conducted Carmen, Don Giovanni and Rosenkavalier and will return in Spring 2017 for Werther. Last season he made his debut with Lyric Opera Chicago [Rosenkavalier] and was re-invited to La Scala, Milan following Britten’s Death in Venice in 2011. This season will see him returning to Opéra National de Paris to conduct Eugene Onegin and future invitations include The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and further engagements at Metropolitan Opera and Lyric Opera Chicago. He was appointed Music Director of Glyndebourne Touring Opera in 2004, a position he held for three years and in 2008 returned to conduct Britten’s Turn of the Screw.

Internationally, the 2016/17 season and beyond will see Edward expanding his guest conducting in North America including debuts with New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra Washington, Seattle Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra. In Europe he will continue to work with major orchestras including Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus, WDR Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Cologne, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony, Finnish Radio, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale RAI Torino and l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. 

During recent seasons Edward has worked with some of the world’s major orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Swedish Radio, Filarmonica della Scala, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and the Boston, Toronto, Montreal, and Houston Symphony Orchestras. 

Edward works regularly with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Proms and in 2011 conducted the Last Night of the Proms, which was televised live to audiences worldwide. Edward was Principal Guest Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for four years and continues to enjoy a flourishing relationship. His other ongoing relationships in the UK include the Philharmonia Orchestra and a continuing association with the Edinburgh International Festival. Edward also works regularly with young musicians including the CBSO and Barbican Youth Orchestras, the National Youth Orchestra and Juilliard School of Music in New York. In 2002 he founded the Hallé Youth Orchestra and in September 2014 was appointed to the new role of ‘Mackerras Chair of Conducting’ at the Royal Academy of Music.

An exclusive recording artist for Chandos, Edward has most recently released critically acclaimed discs of Janáček, Mendelssohn, Walton, Lutoslawski, Britten, Berio vocal and orchestral works and Verdi’s Macbeth with ENO. He has also made a number of recordings for EMI Records; Alison Balsom/Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra; Kate Royal/the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and Kate Royal/English National Opera Orchestra.

Born in Gloucester in 1974, Edward was educated at Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Music where he studied under the instruction of Colin Metters. He graduated in 2000 and went on to assist Mark Elder at The Hallé Orchestra for three years. During his time at ENO he was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Award in 2008 for Best Conductor and in 2009, the Olivier award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera. In June 2012 Edward was awarded an OBE for his Services to Music in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. 

Contact Celia Willis – 44 (0)20 7400 1759

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    Frankfurt Radio - Lutoslawski: Concerto for Orchestra


Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

ELGAR, Cello Concerto in E minor, Op.85

GRIEG, Peer Gynt movements

1. Prelude to Act 1

2. Morning mood

3. Åse's death

4. Solveig's song (with Ann-Helen Moen)

5. Anitra's dance

6. Solveig's cradle song (with Ann-Helen Moen)

7. In the hall of the Mountain King

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

Edward Gardner Conductor

Soloist: Truls Mørk

More information and tickets here

Dubai Opera House, DUBAI

MARSH Overture (WP)
MOZART Piano Concerto no. 20 in D Minor K466
MENDELSSOHN Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage
ELGAR Enigma Variations

Piano: Benjamin Grosvenor

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Dubai Opera House, DUBAI

SHOSTAKOVICH Festive Overture
SAINT-SAËNS Piano Concerto no. 2 op. 22 in G minor
HANDEL Zadok the Priest: Coronation March no.1
TAWADROS New work for Oud and Orchestra
WOOD Sea Songs (extracts)
ARNE/SARGENT Rule Britannia
ELGAR Pomp and Circumstance March no. 1

Piano: Benjamin Grosvenor
Oud / Percussion: Joseph Tawadros

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Prince Mahidol Hall, BANGKOK

SHOSTAKOVICH Festive Overture
MOZART Piano Concerto no. 20 in d minor, K466
MENDELSSOHN Overture Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage
ELGAR Enigma Variations

Piano: Benjamin Grosvenor

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Grieghallen Bergen, BERGEN

BRAHMS Ein deutsches Requiem, op. 45

Camilla Tilling: Soprano
Florian Boesch: Baritone

Bergen Filharmoniske Kor
Edvard Grieg Kor
Collegium Musicum Kor
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

Grieghallen Bergen, BERGEN

BRAHMS Ein deutsches Requiem, op. 45

Camilla Tilling: Soprano
Florian Boesch: Baritone

Bergen Filharmoniske Kor
Edvard Grieg Kor
Collegium Musicum Kor
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

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Bergen Digital Concert Hall

Click here to watch Ed lead the Bergen Philharmonic in a live stream of Schoenberg's Gurrelieder recorded from concert in Grieghallen, Bergen on Friday 11 December 2015.

Click here to watch Ed walking through the streets of Bergen talking about his orchestra the Bergen Philharmonic.

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BBC Symphony Orchestra, 7 January 2017

Barbican Centre, London

The burst of brass that opens Jealousy cuts like Steva’s knife, the low strings a knot of shame. Chords spread like bruises, uncooled by the balm of the clarinet solo. It’s a perfect fit for Gardner, whose instinct for the tension and relaxation in Janácek’s music is superb. Anna Picard, The Times, 10 January 2017

Seattle Symphony Orchestra, 1 Dececmber 2016

Benaroya Hall, Seattle

Edward Gardner’s powerful, impassioned conducting illuminated the life-and-death struggles of the score that Elgar called “the best of me.” From the opening phrases to the transcendent finale, the British-born maestro spurred the orchestra, chorale, and three particularly fine soloists forward in a performance that never lost focus or momentum. At particularly dramatic moments, Gardner practically levitated off the podium, sometimes gripping his baton with both hands and flailing it as if wielding a weapon. Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times, 2 December 2016

Minnesota Orchestra, 20 October 2016

Orchestra Hall Minneapolis

It was a brilliant debut, epitomised in the electrifying performance of Berlioz's overture to "Benvenuto Cellini," which opened the concert. This is rhythmically tricky music, but Gardner, his body language bursting with tightly coiled energy, had its full measure. The orchestra's playing bristled with vitality and the finale was scintillatingly executed.
So, too, was the Second Suite from Ravel's ballet "Daphnis and Chloe," a sensual interpretation that benefited greatly from the clarity of Gardner's baton technique and his gripping sense of theatre. He should be invited back as soon as possible.

Terry Blain, Star Tribune, 21 October 2016
Making his Minnesota Orchestra debut, Gardner demonstrated that he’s also an extraordinarily expressive artist, a graceful conductor who helped sculpt fascinating interpretations. This was evident not only on the Adams, but on a sumptuous version of Ravel’s second suite from his ballet, “Daphnis and Chloe”.  Kathy Berdan, Twin Cities, 20 October 2016

Schoenberg: Gurre-Lieder

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Chandos Records, September 2016

'... for luminous atmosphere and edge-of-the-seat excitement, Gardner’s Bergen forces offer something special.'

Geoff Brown, The Times, 30 September 2016

Edinburgh International Festival, Elgar: The Apostles, 14 August 2016

Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Usher Hall

Even fervent Elgarians can get a bit sniffy about The Apostles, the oratorio saddled with the reputation of being pallidly inferior to its more popular predecessor The Dream of Gerontius ... Pish! And Edward Gardner – fast establishing himself as the successor to his mentor Mark Elder as the outstanding Elgar conductor of his generation – is clearly having none of it either. His blazing commitment to this incandescent performance was enough to convince anyone that, far from being an over-blown splurge of Edwardian religiosity, The Apostles was forged in the white heat of a master’s mature genius. Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 16 August 2016

BBC Proms, BBC Symphony Orchestra, 31 July 2016

Royal Albert Hall

... Gardner proved an outstanding interpreter of two French classics, bringing innocence and charm to Ravel’s Mother Goose suite and fluidity and vigour to Debussy’s La Mer. George Hall, Guardian, Tuesday 2 August 2016

Three Choirs Festival, Philharmonia, 27 July 2016

Gloucester Cathedral

Nothing was more thrilling than the interventions of the four brass choirs strategically positioned around the chorus, notably in the wondrous Tuba mirum and again in the Lachrymosa, and – together with the ominous thunder of four timpanists with their 16 drums, right across the stage between orchestra and chorus – it made for a momentous aural experience. It was in balancing these vast colours vividly and with calm precision that conductor Edward Gardner was so very impressive, an altogether commanding presence.
Berlioz: Grande Messe des Morts
Rian Evans, The Guardian, 28 July 2016

Verdi: Falstaff, 13 July 2016

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Having marshalled a first-class cast, and in dynamic form on the podium, it was Edward Gardner, in his final appearance as the orchestra’s principal guest conductor, who masterminded the occasion, sparky and sparkling from beginning to life-affirming final chord ... Remarkably, this was a performance with neither director nor props, but with Gardner making the action flow so naturally and with such pace as to belie that fact ... This was the CBSO troupe covering themselves with glory. ***** Rian Evans, The Guardian, 14 July 2016

Wagner: Tristan and Isolde, 9 June 2016

English National Opera, London Coliseum

The hero of the evening for me was Edward Gardner, conducting a dramatically rich and emotionally sensitive interpretation of the score, superbly played by the orchestra. So it was in the pit rather than on stage that this Tristan had vivid life. Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 10 June 2016
The orchestral playing and Edward Gardner’s conducting were both magnificent. Barry Millington, The Evening Standard, 10 June 2016
 The loudest roars were for the Australian heldentenor Stuart Skelton, now a world-class Tristan, and for Edward Gardner, ENO’s former music director, conducting the work for the first time Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 12 June 2016
Edward Gardner [...] gets the ENO orchestra to play Wagner’s score as if to the manner born. Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 10 June 2016

Janacek: Orchestral Works: Volume 3, Chandos February 2016

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

'... Janáček's Glagolitic Mass is demanding of performers and requires special treatment at every turn. Edward Gardner's interpretation succeeds superbly by focusing on the life-affirming qualities of the work, rather than going in search of its more ceremonial aspects. The please of the Gospodi, pomiluj [Kyrie] have genuine urgency and the opening of the Slava [Gloria] is infectiously joyous. The chorus is rhythmically crisp and unfailingly responsive, most effectively in the dramatic twists and turns of the Veruju [Credo].'
BBC Music Magazine, Recording of the Month
Jan Smaczny, BBC Music Magazine, May 2016

Philharmonia, Thursday 5 May 2016

Royal Festival Hall

Gardner’s Mozart was noble and spacious, with ample weight in the lower strings, carefully nuanced dynamics and delicately shaded woodwind.

The colours grew wilder in the Elgar, almost narcotic in the cool choir of flutes and the soft tap of the timpani, almost gaudy in the unsteady gloss of brass and harps, yet still with a sprung quality to the bass line. The languid cello melody of the first movement was as palely beautiful as a Singer Sargent portrait subject, the Larghetto a hot house bloom, the Rondo vigorous, and the finale opulent with portamento strings. 
Anna Picard, The Times, 9 May 2016

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, 17 March 2016

Symphony Hall, Birmingham

... the most perfectly-judged performance of Elgar's nostalgic Second Symphony I think I have ever heard. Compared with Gardner's subtle reading, memories of Boult seemed too literal, Barbirolli too head-pattingly indulgent; here Gardner set flexible tempi, discreetly encouraged significant instrumental lines (the horns were understatedly magnificent, the double-basses noble), and to the slow movement's threnody brought mystery as well as inner grief. ***** Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post, 22 March 2016

BBC Symphony Orchestra, 17 December 2015

Barbican Centre, London

Long established as one of the finest conductors of choral music, Edward Gardner turned his attention to A Child of Our Time for his latest concert with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. [He] realised superbly the work’s compassion and fury, its innate drama and its oscillations between despair and hope. Orchestral textures were dark and lean. The choral singing blazed with intensity and fervour, nowhere more so than in the spirituals that punctuate the work like chorales in a Bach Passion.  Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 18 December 2015

Schoenberg: Gurrelieder, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, 10 December 2015

Grieghallen, Bergen

His [Schoenberg's] style had developed radically by the time he finished it 11 years later, and Mahlerian influences emerge as well as the composer's first use of Sprechstimme, the expressionist vocal technique that hovers between singing and speaking. All this was reflected in the sweep of Gardner's conducting, by turns luminous and incisive. He unleashed the piece's volcanic passions while never becoming mired in its high-calorific density, and somehow avoided drowning the singers. ***** John Allison, The Telegraph, 11 December 2015
 ... as a dramatic and musical entity Gardner’s performance couldn’t be faulted, and with a team of soloists right out of the top drawer, he caught the score’s wonderful ambiguity too, celebrating the lushness of a post-Tristan musical world at the same time as peering over the edge into the much more uncertain and unstable world of expressionism. Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 23 December 2015

Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Edinburgh Festival, 14 August 2015

Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Edward Gardner paired operatic scale with matter-of-fact clarity for an unflinching, vigorous, at times arrestingly stark account from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the male singers of the RSNO and Festival choruses and soloists Jukka Rasilainen and Anna Larsson. Crucially, Gardner didn’t fall for any romanticised evocations of northernness or machismo, but instead painted a harsh, lonely landscape in which Kullervo is a flawed and brutal character. 
Sibelius: Kullervo
Kate Molleson, The Guardian, Sunday 16 August 2015
What brought the two contrasting works together – and made the concert such a hugely rewarding experience – was the musical personality of conductor Edward Gardner. You could tell he’s had years in the opera pit: he tackled both pieces with a keen sense of storytelling, leading the listener through their vivid musical descriptions and shifting moods expertly. He drove the RSNO onwards with some urgent direction – but he was crystal clear, and precise in his demands. And in response, the Orchestra showed what it was capable of in thrillingly broad, sweeping playing, committed and secure. David Kettle Saturday, The Arts Desk, 15 August 2015

Academy of Ancient Music, 9 August 2015

Alice Tully Hall, New York

Was that really the Academy of Ancient Music, playing so roughly, almost raucously at times, in Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony on Sunday? Yes, it was, and it was thrilling. 

On Sunday afternoon, it was the English maestro Edward Gardner leading the orchestra in a program of Mendelssohn at Alice Tully Hall as part of the Mostly Mozart Festival, and he elicited real electricity in the playing. In the symphony and another Scottish-themed work, Mendelssohn’s moody concert overture “The Hebrides,” Mr. Gardner — who had also conducted two concerts by the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra over the weekend — challenged the Academy players with fast tempos, and they responded with hard-driving performances vividly evoking turbulent seas and changeable climates. But there were also moments of great delicacy, as with the evanescent pizzicatos at the end of the symphony’s Vivace non troppo movement, a quintessential Mendelssohn scherzo in all but name.

Virtuosity was rife in the playing ... the performance was everywhere atmospheric and exciting.

James R. Oestreichaug, New York Times, 10 August 2015

Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, 8 August 2015

Avery Fisher Hall, New York

Mr. Gardner opened with a colorful account of Weber’s Overture to “Der Freischütz,” bringing telling dramatic shape and a feel for surprise to the episodic score.

The concert was excellent, especially the crackling, clearheaded account of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony that Mr. Gardner drew from the orchestra after intermission.

Anthony Tommasiniaug, New York Times, 9 August 2015

Janacek: Orchestral Works: Volume 2, Chandos May 2015

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

It is the intense and gritty playing of the Bergeners, and Gardner’s evident empathy with Janacek, that make this music so compelling and dramatic.

Album of the week, The Times, 6 May 2015

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, 23 April 2015

Symphony Hall, Birmingham

The burning conviction that the CBSO’s principal guest conductor, Edward Gardner, brought to the score was obvious – he captured Tippett’s tumultuous energy and brightness, a myriad threads drawing the listener into a web of sound ... With his firm grasp of overall trajectory, Gardner maintained the gradual accretion of nervous tension through the dancing scherzo and into the finale, never losing sight of the magical moments of vibrancy which recall his opera The Midsummer Marriage. The CBSO were on blistering form.
Rian Evans, The Guardian, Sunday 26 April 2015
With vigour, playful rubato and intoxicating cantabile strings, Edward Gardner and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra made this tone poem sing brightly, proudly and persuasively. Both sides of Elgar’s temperament were featured in this programme: joy and despair. Anna Picard, The Times, 27 April 2015

Walton: Symphony no. 2, Cello Concerto, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Chandos, February 2015

BBC Symphony Orchestra, Paul Watkins

In the Second Symphony, Gardner is consistently highly impressive ... deeply imaginative, wholly at one with the music - its depth of utterance, its myriad chiaroscuro orchestration, its sudden changes of orchestral texture, and constant sense of moving forwards, even when the basic tempo (as in the middle movement) is quite slow - all are grasped and understood by this conductor, and presented to us with an admirable combination of insight, spontaneity and freshness. 

There is nothing egotistical in these splendid interpretations, and the result is a set of consistently satisfying performances of the highest musical grasp and understanding. I cannot imagine anything finer then these.

Robert Matthew-Walker, International Record Review, March 2015

Wagner: Meistersinger, February 2015

English National Opera, London Coliseum

The ENO orchestra seems to come to life under Gardner. The prelude to Act III was spellbinding and showed us the essence of their playing: the word “poise” kept coming into my head. Gardner seemed to have total control of the dynamic shaping of each phrase, with the ebb and flow precisely measured and the level set to exactly what he wanted, whether for dramatic effect or for balance with singers. ***** David Karlin, Bachtrack, 8 February 2015
Down in the pit conductor Edward Gardner skilfully blends grandeur, emotion and warm-hearted humour, and allows the music to bloom in the Coliseum’s perfect Wagner acoustic. ***** Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 9 February 2015

BBC Symphony Orchestra, 1 November 2014

Barbican Centre, London

Gardner’s slow, moody account of the Unfinished Symphony, played with great beauty and depth of feeling, offered fresh insights into a work we sometimes take for granted. 
Schubert:Symphony No 8 ‘unfinished’ 
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 2 November 2014

Verdi: Otello, September 2014

English National Opera, London Coliseum

Edward Gardner’s conducting of his splendid orchestra was incandescent in its magnificence. The electrifying curtain-raising storm, the intricately tricky third-act ensemble, and the eerily bleak final scene were all sublimely rendered Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 14 September 2014

National Youth Orchestra Tour, August 2014

Sage, Gateshead, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Royal Albert Hall, London

Though conducting the NYO for the first time, Edward Gardner seemed to have developed an instant rapport, igniting individual sections throughout the mysterious nocturne like fireflies. [Sage, Gateshead 7 August 2014] Alfred Hickling, The Guardian, 8 August 2014

Boston Symphony Orchestra, 18 July 2014

Tanglewood, USA

Gardner allowed the individual "star" players, notably the principal French horn and oboist, to display their striking abilities to stunning effect, while allowing for the entire ensemble to support their colleagues' exceptional solo playing with the outstanding team effort for which the BSO is so renowned. Maestro Gardner gave the overall impression of a remarkably gifted and already accomplished musician who will have much to offer as his career progresses. Erica Miner, BWW, 22 July 2014

Berlioz: Benvenuto Cellini, June 2014

English National Opera, London Coliseum

The other firm hand on the tiller is that of the conductor Edward Gardner, who drives the music fast and furiously without losing its warmth: he draws lovely playing from the orchestra, and relaxes into the lyrical episodes, notably the exquisite duet for soprano and mezzo-soprano and Cellini’s climactic aria of self-dedication. ***** Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 05 Jun 2014
Gardner invests this notoriously difficult score with all the cross-rhythmic verve it needs, and covers himself and his ensemble with glory. Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 06 June 2014

Walton: Symphony no. 1, Violin Concerto, Chandos, May 2014

BBC Symphony Orchestra

'.. an interpretation in the same league as Previn's near legendary 1966 recording, with thrilling momentum to match. 

Where Gardner and the BBC Symphony perhaps surpass Previn and the LSO is in their astonishingly accurate response to the teeming accents and dynamic markings. The result is a masterclass in how to generate formidable dramatic voltage while keeping the music's eruptive energy on a tight rein - as in the first movement and finale, where Gardner's precise control of tempo and decibel-level builds up, and then releases impressive firepower with minimum bombast.' 

Malcolm Hayes, BBC Music Magazine June 2014

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, 13 February 2014

Symphony Hall, Birmingham

This performance, one of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's series celebrating the Mendelssohn connection with their principal guest conductor Edward Gardner, swept away any notion of this as a stodgy, ponderous work. In the opening orchestral sinfonia, it was not that the meanings of the instructions maestoso and religioso were ignored; simply that any heaviness was dissipated, the music invested instead with airy, almost transparent textures and a lightness of step. Even the dotted rhythm of the recurring trombone theme took on a lively spring ... in Gardner's authoritative hands, new life was breathed into a work that suddenly seemed wrongly neglected.
Mendelssohn Symphony no. 2 ****

Rian Evans, The Guardian, Sunday 16 February 2014

Mendelssohn in Birmingham, Chandos, February 2014

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Edward Gardner and the Birminghamsters catch the hazy “Scottish” atmosphere of the Hebrides, and he is expansive in the outer movements of the Reformation, with its quotation of the Dresden Amen and Luther’s chorale, Ein feste Burg. The Italian Symphony is exhilaratingly delivered — with poetic solos in the andante con moto — especially the breathless Saltarello presto finale.
Sunday Times album of the week
Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 29 January 2014
Edward Gardner characterises the land - and seascape of the “Hebrides” Overture with a good ear for storm, surge and serenity, and the purposeful instrumental detail that he elicits is a vital factor, too, in the “Reformation” Symphony.
The depth of sonority at the start (with solemn double basses and brass) yields to a powerfully executed first movement, stirring in its drive and drama, with the ensuing scherzo light yet firm of accent.
The music’s essential seriousness, well defined here, contrasts with the airy exuberance of the “Italian” Symphony, crisp, animated, warm and enchanting. ****

Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph, 20 February 2014

Benjamin Britten: Peter Grimes, January/February 2014

English National Opera, London Coliseum

Gardner conducted David Alden’s production when it was new in 2009 and at the Proms in 2012. The score is fully under his skin, which means it is now implanted under ours. Details I’ve never heard seep out: some glacially beautiful, others darkly abrasive. And the great Sea Interludes are so tautly integrated into the whole canvas that I don’t really want to hear them in the concert hall again **** Neil Fisher, The Times, 31 January 2014

BBC Symphony Orchestra, 20 December 2013

Barbican Centre, London

In philosophical terms, you could summarise the evening as a musical transfiguration of life through love and death – an unusually powerful dramaturgical thread for an “ordinary” symphony concert. Edward Gardner articulated some of these ideas in a short speech from the podium – a good example of how and when a conductor can communicate directly with the audience.

The orchestra played with fibre. Gardner’s skilful grading of the Tristan Prelude – where to “place” the climax and how to wind it down – suggested it may be time he conducted the entire opera at English National Opera, where he is music director. His Strauss exuded the same easy command, but it was the Webern that impressed most. The Passacaglia is not as dry or forbidding as its composer’s reputation suggests. What it needs is lucidity and sweep, passion and commitment, and Gardner gave it just that. ****

Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 23 December 2013

Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier, 22 November 2013

Metropolitan Opera, New York

The highpoint was Edward Gardner’s conducting ... it was virile when necessary, gentle when called for, without ever being heavy or uncontrolled. Best of all was an inerrant sense of pacing, through which Strauss’ most sublime conclusion before Capriccio felt both welcome and deserved. David Allen, Bachtrack, 25 November 2013
Nuances of speech are crucial to the wit and the pathos of the opera. That every word came through clearly is surely due in part to the production’s German coach, Marianne Barrett. But it was also thanks to the precision work of the conductor Edward Gardner, who drew an impassioned and nuanced performance from the Met Orchestra that never overpowered the singers
Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times, 27 November 2013

Bartok: Four Orchestral Pieces, Chandos, November 2013

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

Australia's oldest orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony, founded in 1906, brings high energy and finesse to these Bartók performances under the incisive baton of Edward Gardner. Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta opens mysteriously with the chromatic Andante tranquillo. The Allegro is demonic, the Adagio luscious and the Allegro full of runaway spirit and urgency.  ***** Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 8 December 2013

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, 21 October 2013

Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Mendelssohn is being conjured out of the mists in Birmingham Town Hall, where he enjoyed some of his greatest triumphs. Under Edward Gardner’s spirited direction, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra has embarked on a live and recorded cycle of his symphonies. **** Richard Morrison, The Times, 22 October 2013

Opening of Milton Court, City of London, 26 September 2013

Guildhall Symphony Orchestra

We heard the hall at its best in the accompaniments of the pared-down Guildhall Symphony Orchestra, deftly and imaginatively conducted by Edward Gardner.  Hugo Shirley, The Telegraph, 27 September 2013
Its acoustics were amply tested by the opening gala, given by the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra under Edward Gardner. Elgar’s swaggering Cockaigne Overture — an apt celebration of Cockneys for this quintessential London occasion — sounded terrific: the sound rich but the fortissimos not overwhelming. Richard Morrison, The Times, 30 September 2013

BBC Proms, BBC Symphony Orchestra, 7 August 2013

Royal Albert Hall

Gardner expertly marshalled Lutosławski's teeming textures [Lutoslawski Symphonic Variations and Piano Concerto]. He paired the two works with Holst [The Planets] … a typically brisk, abrasive account, in which no details were overlooked. Between the Variations and the Concerto he placed a beautifully restrained and delicately coloured unfolding of Egdon Heath, Holst's masterly late tone poem … Gardner seemed to relish its palette of greys and pastels, and judged it perfectly. **** Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 8 August 2013

Britten: War Requiem, 25 June 2013

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, City of London Festival, St Paul's Cathedral

Edward Gardner conducted the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in a performance that thrilled and moved ... Gardner's track record both as choral conductor and Britten interpreter is impeccable, and, as might be expected, his handling of the work's complex juxtaposition of disparate elements was supremely intelligent, without losing sight of its power. Speeds were on the slow side. Formal ritual embraced and contained visceral emotion. Britten's shifting perspectives, envisioning war as a communal catastrophe that destroys the individual soul, were exposed with horrifying clarity. The orchestral sound was broodingly dark and Mahlerian, the choral singing pitch-perfect and wonderfully committed. Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 26 June 2013
Gardner profiled the waves of sound in the “Sanctus” as dramatically as he ratcheted up the baleful intensity of the “Libera me”. The eerie quiet of the finale, summoning the spiritual emptiness of the battlefield, was equally well judged. Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 26 June 2013
The piece presents several problems of direction and balance for the conductor. It's scored for chorus and huge orchestra, a separate chamber ensemble accompanying the soloists, two organs and a boys' choir, required to sing at an ethereal distance. In the cavernous acoustic of St Paul's, the potential for disaster was significant but Gardner triumphed, displaying total command of his massive forces. Stephen Pritchard, The Observer, 30 June 2013

Benjamin Britten: Death in Venice, June 2013

English National Opera, London Coliseum

The musical inspiration that Edward Gardner discovers and imparts struck me as even more impressive than it had first time round; he is clearly one of the foremost opera conductors of our time. Michael Tanner, The Spectator, 22 June 2013

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, 1 June 2013

Philharmonie Berlin

So animiert er das Orchester zu klanglichen Hochleistungen: in den „Sea Interludes“ von Britten, dessen „Peter Grimes“ der Deutschen Oper jüngst zum Triumph geriet, mehr noch in Bartóks Konzert für Orchester.  Sybill Mahlke, Der Tagesspiegel, 3 June 2013
Der 39-jährige Dirigent Edward Gardner, der am Freitag sein Debüt beim Deutschen Symphonie-Orchester in der Philharmonie gab, versteht sein Handwerk nicht als Versuch der Einfühlung in ein Kunstwerk, sondern als Kunst des technischen Organisation dieses Kunstwerks – damit das Publikum sich einfühlen kann. Es ist eine gute Stoßrichtung: Wie oft hat man schon in Béla Bartóks "Konzert für Orchester" das anfängliche Streicherbass-Rezitativ und den quer davon wegschwebenden Violinen-Akkord als einen dunkel dräuenden Romantizismus gehört. Gardner dagegen kantet die Ebenen klar gegeneinander, denn schließlich ging es Bartók in diesem letzten Werk nicht um geheimnisvollen Seelenbotschaften, sondern um innovative musikalische Gedanken, die nüchtern von den Eigenheiten der Instrumente her gedacht sind. Auch die von Bartók mutwillig gefälschte Sinnlichkeit des vierten Satzes mit jener gezwirbelten musikalischen Schmalzlocke vermittelt Gardner dem Orchester detailliert, aber sachlich. Gefühle darf dabei nur der Hörer zeigen – wenn er sich vom Komponisten auf die falsche Fährte locken und dann umso schmerzhafter die grellen Posaunencluster um die Ohren hauen lassen will. Von Matthias Nöther, Berliner Morgenpost, 4 June 2013

Benjamin Britten: Piano Concert [Howard Shelley], Violin Concert [Tasmin Little], Chandos, May 2013

Philharmonia Orchestra

The Britten centenary is turning into a CD bonanza. Hot on the heels of Ian Bostridge’s song anthology comes this pairing of the two prewar concertos that announced Britten as a brilliant young composer of instrumental music. Both receive performances of heat, drive and passion, buoyed by the lively BBC Philharmonic under Edward Gardner. Shelley captures the Piano Concerto’s swirling sensuousness (with an extra track for the slow movement Britten replaced in 1945), while Little delivers the Violin Concerto with quicksilver intensity. A rapturous disc. ***** Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 17 May 2013

Alban Berg: Wozzeck May 2013

English National Opera, London Coliseum

It is good to welcome back Wozzeck to English National Opera after an absence of 25 years, and even better to salute the outstanding musical quality of the performance under ENO’s talismanic music director, Edward Gardner.
His is an extremely tactile reading, more Debussyan than Mahlerian in its delicacy, serenity and atmospheric colouring, but also frighteningly intense where it matters – supremely so in the long eruptive crescendo after the Drum Major’s seduction of Marie, and again in the overwhelming grandeur of the final interlude. Gardner keeps the dialogues on a tight rein, favours light textures and shows an easy grasp of Berg’s gestural language. Played without interval, the 90-minute performance roots the drama in the music.
Andrew Clark, Financial Times, May 2013
This is another major achievement for conductor Edward Gardner, who is wonderfully alert to every nuance, while ratcheting up the intensity to almost unbearable levels at times. **** Tim Ashley, The Guardian, May 2013
Tom Randle’s Captain, sniggering, nervy and apoplectic, is a fine characterisation, as is James Morris’s monstrous Doctor. Underpinning it all is the superlative conducting of Edward Gardner, which emphasizes the raw, raucous qualities of the score but also its searing humanity.  Barry Millington, London Evening Standard, May 2013

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, 7 March 2013

Hamer Hall, Melbourne

Gardner delivered an impassioned introduction during the lengthy reset for the stage requirements of Bela Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste, whose specific scoring for two string orchestras exploits stereophonic effects. The intensity of the opening movement's slow fugue was beautifully modulated and, delivering precise pizzicato, the strings coped well with the ever-changing time signature and furious pace of the Allegro. Martin Duffy, The Age, 9 March 2013

Chief Conductor appointment

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

Please click here for an article in Norwegian comparing the appointments of Edward Gardner to the Bergen Philharmonic and Vasily Petrenko to the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestras

Bergens Tidende, 27 February 2013

Lutoslawski: Orchestral Works IV, Chandos, February 2013

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Witold Lutoslawski (1913-94) wrote much of his First Symphony during the second world war. The opening has an angular, witty quality mirrored in the last movement, with no hint at the turbulence of the times. In contrast, the inner sections have a strange melancholy – in the Adagio, a sorrowful string tune and mawkish oboe solo, in the Allegretto a subdued waltz. The BBCSO and Edward Gardner, in the latest of this excellent series, capture the range of moods eloquently.  Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 17 March 2013

Elgar: Dream of Gerontius, 21 February 2013

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Grieghallen, Bergen

For an orchestra with international ambitions, it is undoubtedly a gift that Edward Gardner joins the team … Gardner manages to almost merge with the musicians, creating formidable moments. 

Espen Selvik, Bergens Tidende, 22 February 2013

Benjamin Britten: Spring Symphony, 17 February 2013

Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall, London

Gardner and the Philharmonia did fine things with its [Bridge: The Sea] sensuous textures and muted turbulence. The third movement, Moonlight – Britten re-used the title for one of the interludes in Grimes – was ravishing.

The Spring Symphony was tremendous. Britten always brings out the best in Gardner, whose understanding of this unwieldy score was exceptional. From the opening evocation of the chill of winter to the jubilant closing processional based on Sumer Is Icumen In, the sometimes meandering emotional trajectory was immaculately negotiated and paced. 
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 19 February 2013
Britten’s Spring Symphony is at present somewhat less elusive than spring itself. Last month in Birmingham, this month in London: Edward Gardner passed the baton from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra to the Philharmonia where, using Birmingham’s own unsurpassed choral forces, he conducted another light-filled performance of Britten’s first large-scale work for chorus and orchestra — and the sap was certainly rising. **** Hilary Finch, The Times, 19 February 2013

Benjamin Britten: Spring Symphony, Bridge: The Sea, Elgar: Sea Pictures 17 January 2013

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Edward Gardner sifted out any spare sentiment from the work’s performing tradition and, clarifying every orchestral texture, he drove the rhythms hard, emphasising the music’s thrummings, pulsations, hot blood and rising sap. Hilary Finch, The Times, 22 January 2013
Principal guest conductor Edward Gardner presided over a powerfully committed account of Bridge’s Suite The Sea ... Gardner’s reading was perceptively shaped, responsive to Bridge’s polyglot language (Stravinsky in particular, but thankfully none of the mawkishness of some of his English contemporaries), and drawing particular character from the remarkable CBSO woodwind soloists ... There were smiles on so many faces as we ventured out into the night to see what winter had to throw at us. Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post, 25 January 2013

Swedish Radio Orchestra: 11 January 2013

Berwaldhallen, Stockholm

Edward Gardner gave a youthful but mature impression. With a concerted and intense body language he led the musicians in a dramatic performance with a wealth of shades. Lars Hedblad, Svenska Dagbladet, 12 January 2013

Szymanowski: Orchestral Works, Chandos, January 2013

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Edward Gardner begins his Szymanowski survey for Chandos at the beginning, with the Polish composer's first orchestral work, the Concert Overture Op 12. His gloriously broad and sweeping account of a work that reflects Szymanowski's seemingly boundless admiration for Richard Strauss's symphonic poems sets the tone for a disc that emphasises the composer's late romantic affiliations rather than his modernist ones, especially with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on opulent form. **** Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 24 January 2013

Walton: Viola Concerto, Mahler: Symphony no. 1 13 December 2012

Juilliard Orchestra, Alice Tully Hall

Mr. Gardner elicited spirited and polished playing from the young musicians throughout ... All sections of the Juilliard ensemble shone in the intense and beautifully detailed performance of the Mahler symphony led by Mr. Gardner, from the radiant opening, with its shimmering A, to the exuberant conclusion. Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times, 16 December 2012

Lutoslawski: Orchestral Works III, Chandos, December 2012

BBC Symphony Orchestra

The performances continue the highly favorable impression of this series to date, with Gardner securing playing of real immediacy and finesse from a BBC Symphony Orchestra that sounds as fully engaged in the lighter aspect of the composer’s music as in its more searching utterances. Richard Whitehouse, International Record Review, December 2012

Harvey: Weltethos 21 June 2012

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Narrator: Samuel West, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Mr. Gardner led a colorful, dramatic and organic performance Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, 22 June 2012

Benjamin Britten: Billy Budd June 2012

English National Opera, London Coliseum

In the authoritative hands of conductor Edward Gardner, Britten's score flares, sparks and fractures with white heat and luminescence. The ENO orchestra is on blazing form. Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 24 June 2012
The one unmitigated good thing is the conductor, driving Britten's great score like a master and commander on his ship - indeed, like the Vere we should be seeing on stage. Ismene Brown, The Arts Desk, 19 June 2012



Janáček: Orchestral Works, Vol. III, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

Glagolitic Mass, JW III/9 (1926-27)
Sara Jakubiak soprano
Susan Bickley mezzo-soprano
Stuart Skelton tenor
Gabor Bretz bass
Thomas Trotter organ
Bergen Philharmonic Choir
Choir of Collegium Musicum
Edvard Grieg Kor
Adagio for orchesetra JW VI/5 
Zdravas Maria, JW II/14 (1904)
David Stewart violin
Karstein Askeland organ
Sara Jakubiak soprano
Otce nas, JW IV/29 (1901 revised 1906)
Johannes Wik harp
Karstein Askeland organ
Stuart Skelton tenor

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Edward Gardner
Chandos Records

Verdi: Macbeth

English National Opera 
Edward Gardner: Conductor 
Simon Keenlyside baritone - Macbeth
Brindley Sherratt bass - Banquo
Latonia Moore soprano - Lady Macbeth
Gwyn Hughes Jones tenor - Macduff


Britten: Death in Venice

Conductor: Edward Gardner
Director: Deborah Warner
Orchestra and Chorus of English National Opera

Gustav von Aschenbach: John Graham-Hall
Traveller/Elderly Fop/Gondolier/Barber/Hotel Manager/Player/Dionysus: Andrew Shore
Apollo: Tim Mead
Tadzio: Sam Zaldivar

Opus Arte

Britten: BBC Symphony Orchestra

Phaedra, Op. 93
A Charm of Lullabies, Op. 41
Lachrymae, Op. 48a
Two Portraits
Sinfonietta, Op. 1

Sarah Connolly: Mezzo Soprano
Maxim Rysanov: Viola
Edward Gardner: Conductor