(We have been sitting on this story for a month, waiting for the contract ink to dry. Now, all can be told.)
The Orchestre de Paris is about to announce Daniel Harding as its next music director.
It’s a subtle, sophisticated, highly promising appointment.
Harding, 39, is a vastly accomplished conductor who was mentored by Rattle and Abbado, conducts regularly in Vienna and Berlin, but has yet to land a major international band. His children live in Paris, he is fluent in French and au fait with the culture (his predecessor Paavo Järvi never got past parlez-vous). Harding will take a much-rejuvenated orchestra into new musical territory.
The OdP have a history of turbulent relationships with conductors, an ability to give a Gallic shrug to the best of musical intentions. But they have many foreign players nowadays. As a group, they generally appreciate Harding and enjoy his agreeable, collaborative rehearsals and the combustion he adds in performance.
In sum, the delicate balance seems well-adjusted.
Daniel Harding may be the first Englishman to conquer Paris.
He is presently music director with the excellent radio orchestra in Stockholm.