Boy wonder becomes conductor for life

Boy wonder becomes conductor for life


norman lebrecht

August 22, 2011

Daniel Harding was  just 22 when he conducted the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in its breakthrough Don Giovanni at Aix-en-Provence.

Now, a week before his 36th birthday, he has been named conductor laureate – for life.

Sic transit harmonia mundi, they used to teach us at school.


Here’s the press release.


MCO honours Daniel Harding with the lifetime title of Conductor Laureate

Alongside Claudio Abbado, Daniel Harding is undoubtedly the conductor who has had the greatest influence on the MCO’s young history: first as Principal Guest Conductor, then as Music Director and since 2008 as Principal Conductor, he has been closely tied to the orchestra since its founding in 1997. Now, the orchestra has decided unanimously to give him the permanent title of Conductor Laureate.

Berlin, 19 August 2011 – At the age of 22, Daniel Harding shared with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra its international breakthrough only a few months after its founding with Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the opera festival in Aix-en-Provence. Since then, he has conducted numerous concerts and operas – most recently the complete cycle of Brahms symphonies and Mahler’s Fourth symphony on an extensive tour in Europe and Asia in summer 2011, Verdi’s Otello and Berg’s Wozzeck – and he has stood on the conductor’s podium with the MCO on a total of 342 evenings. Numerous CD and DVD recordings document the longstanding collaboration.

After almost 15 years of artistic partnership, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra has decided unanimously to give him the honorary lifetime title of Conductor Laureate. The orchestra expresses its deep gratitude to Daniel Harding for his friendship and dedication to the MCO and is happy to preserve the long-term bond with the new title. Several collaborations are already in planning for the years 2012 and 2013.

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 Berlin Philharmonic and made his debut with the orchestra at the 1996 Berlin Festival.

In addition to his work with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, he is the Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, and Music Partner of the New Japan Philharmonic. Previous positions include Principal Conductor of the Trondheim Symphony in Norway (1997-2000), Principal Guest Conductor of Sweden’s Norrköping Symphony (1997-2003), and Music Director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (1997-2003).

He is a regular visitor to most renowned orchestras such as Bayerischer Rundfunk, Dresden Staatskapelle, the Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouworkest, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester and the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala. Other guest conducting engagements have included the Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Rome, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées. Among the American orchestras with whom he has performed are the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

In opera Daniel Harding conducts new productions at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin and at la Scala Milan where he is a regular guest. In 2002 he was awarded the title Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government.

This Sunday, 21 August, Daniel Harding conducts the MCO at the LUCERNE FESTIVAL in Switzerland in a concert performance of Mozart’s Magic Flute. The sold-out performance will be recorded by Swiss Radio DRS2 (broadcast on 22 August, 21:05).



  • Chichi says:

    silly (yet real) question, but: if you are nominated “for life” and then fall out with the orchestra)/orchestra management etc., can you resign?