Exclusive: What Daniel Harding told the Orchestre de Parismain
We have obtained from inside sources the letter of resignation by music director Daniel Harding that was read out yesterday to musicians of the Orchestre de Paris. It is a positive, upbeat letter. He is leaving on good terms.
The main reason for his resignation is, briefly, that he came to the conclusion that if he proceeded with his plans for the orchestra he would risk changing its character – and that is the last thing he wanted to do. As one friend puts it: ‘If he had stayed it would have been a kind of reconstructive surgery on something that really doesn’t need it, that is already a supreme example of its own style.’
This is a principled resignation for purely artistic reasons. His letter to the orchestra is unspun and from the heart. You read it here first.
I have enjoyed immensely my time with you so far. Every week has taught me something; primarily musical, but also to admire and respect you as a group of musicians and professionals. Some of those weeks have been unforgettable and count amongst my strongest musical experiences to date. Amongst those I feel compelled to mention the Dream of Gerontius last December, during which your commitment and dedication to the music, the beauty of your playing and the sensitivity of your accompaniment and storytelling will remain with me always.
We also have a great number of projects to come about which I am very excited and am sure will provide many moments of unforgettable music making.
When I am back I will be more than happy to talk with any of you who wish to discuss my reasons for this decision, for now let me keep it brief.
I don’t see this in any way as a negative decision. I came to you when we were largely completely unknown to one another. Getting to know you is a fascinating and inspiring process. My strong feeling is that the best of our collaboration is an exchange of different musical backgrounds, and a discovery together of new repertoire for the orchestra and some different perspectives on more familiar repertoire. You are a supreme expression of a musical culture that is not mine. For this reason I think that a number of years together will be very productive and inspiring. Beyond that I would find myself wanting to turn the Alps into the Grand Canyon, because I came looking for something other than is your nature. Far better to have a wonderful time discovering that which you are, and seeing what I can offer you as observation to help you on your journey: and then to move on with happy memories. To change your musical nature would be an act of destruction, and I will not do it.
I have offered to Bruno (already when I first spoke to him about this decision) that I stay in the season subsequent to my contract (19/20) for 4 or 5 weeks and perhaps a tour. I will relinquish my title, but will be there to help with anything you may wish of me and to show you and the outside world that there is no rupture or problem. My intention is to continue making music with you regularly for as long as you wish that to be the case.