Daniel Harding: I won’t be a pilot just for one year

The conductor has told the FT he intends to stay in flight mode for the long term.


He says reports that his stint as a pilot would be limited to a one-year sabbatical were misleading. “It is true that after 25 years of conducting I decided it was time to take a break, to be at home, to read, to think, to let the lessons sink in. But my long-term plan was always to do both, and Air France has a tradition of pilots with interests in the arts or sport.”

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  • He still has a pretty full slate as a conductor next season (much of it risks cancelation of course), including a tour of one month with the Concertgebouw. It seems like he mostly cut back some with his Swedish orchestra. So don’t count him out for much of anything in the future.

  • For one thing, with covid, he could get a lot more passengers in his plane than audience members in his concerts, paying a lot more for a seat, and he can take a nap in the middle of it

    • were you thinking he could be the next Klemperer by taking a nap in the middle of a concert – it could improve his concert-making.

  • At times like this, it’s always good to have a second career skill that’s not as vulnerable as a job in the arts.

  • Couldn’t he choose something safer or less uncertain, like cruise ship officer? There are ship’s concerts, too.

  • Hold the phone: don’t put me on a plane piloted by a part time flyer and orchestra conductor!! I must say, though, that as a conductor he’s a pretty good airline pilot.

  • I would never fly in a plane piloted by Maestro Harding. He has bad rhythm and unsteady hands. His conducting gestures are nervous and sudden, a bit like a headless chicken. Don’t get him near CDG or Orly.

  • Harding is one of those “conductors” every time I have him in front of me on the podium I wonder how he got there.

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