It’s official: London Philharmonic have new chief

It’s official: London Philharmonic have new chief


norman lebrecht

July 25, 2019

Four days after the Slippedisc exclusive, the press release has landed:

The London Philharmonic Orchestra today announces the appointment of Edward Gardner as its next Principal Conductor, the first British Principal Conductor of the Orchestra since the late 1960s. Gardner will take up his position at the start of the 2021/22 season. His initial five-year contract will see him working with the Orchestra for a minimum of 10 weeks per season, including its London season as Resident Orchestra at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, on international tours and with the Orchestra’s many ground-breaking Education & Community programmes.

Currently Chief Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Gardner first conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2003 and has since returned for concerts at the Royal Festival Hall, Snape Maltings and Glyndebourne. Most recently he has conducted the Orchestra both in London and on tour in the United States. During the 2019/20 season Gardner will appear four times in London with the Orchestra and he will also open its 2020/21 season. Much in demand as a guest-conductor, Gardner’s recent seasons have included performances with the Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Wiener Symphoniker and his debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where he returns in September to conduct Massenet’s Werther.

Edward Gardner said:
“I’m thrilled to have been appointed Principal Conductor of the LPO. I worked with the Orchestra early in my career and I was quite overwhelmed by the brilliance and virtuosity of the musicians. Returning to the Orchestra recently I’ve felt a sense of pleasure and privilege working with this inspiring group of musicians and relished the passion and hunger the LPO brings to performance. I’m
looking forward to our collaboration with huge anticipation and excitement.”

UPDATE: Gardner harks back to golden Tennstedt times


  • John Rook says:

    Good for him. No need for the Brits to be coy about appointing their own if they have what it takes.

    • London calling says:

      Let’s put it this way. The Brit conductor is as interesting as the Brit composer. Here goes the London Phil in the direction of the RPO. An Enigma Variations or The Planets orchestra.

      • Gustavo says:

        Predictable development –
        back to bangers and mash…

        • Mike Schachter says:

          Rather pathetic to see the remains of the old snobbery Elgar complained of: how can a British conductor or compose be as good as those frightfully clever Continentals? Do they even own lederhosen?

          • Gustavo says:

            Ed would look smashing in Lederhosen. You know, Maris won’t be around for ever…

    • Saxon Broken says:

      This is the first time that the five London orchestras have had, between them, two British (born) conductors at the same time since the early 1950s.

  • Best of luck. But a great orchestra like the LPO? Maybe I’m missing something? Lots of inspiring conductors out there. Oh well. I’ll dip into his recorded archive to refresh my memory. Oh wait…

  • Rgiarola says:

    Congratulations. Great choice. I’ve got no connections with his entourage or him, besides live concerts and records. He doesn’t have that huge hype media support that most ones got(and all from outside Uk), but had been delivering up to now up in a great level.

  • Semuso says:

    Four days after the slipped disc exclusive…

    Four days after slipped disc irresponsibly sharing commercially sensitive information, regardless of the consequences.

    Still, nice scoop, Norman.

    And what’s with the RPO bashing? Sounds like they’ve got the best music director in London to me. Good luck to them.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Good luck Ed, and to the LPO. Hope you have a great time together; great memories of our work together, Maestro!

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Wonderful news. And a great ‘look’ for the orchestra as well. Win win.

  • Robin Smith says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if he did an annual in concert Wagner opera following on from Jurowski’s Ring cycle ?