Daniel Harding, LSO Principal Guest Conductor

Daniel Harding, LSO Principal Guest Conductor

British Conductors

Home-Grown Conducting Talent

In 2014/15 the LSO will be welcoming the best in British conducting talent to the podium, with visits from six of Britain’s finest and most inspiring maestros. The diverse line-up spans multiple generations, and will bring a mix of repertoire to the Barbican stage.

What is striking about this particular gathering of British talent is that each of them are leaders, not just in the field of conducting, but also in ways of bringing orchestral and classical music to wider audiences and advancing the genre. Under the leadership of these figures the world now has new concert halls, both online and physical, thriving record labels and new places in which to experience the music.

‘Staying a step ahead of the LSO is like trying to stay in front of Usain Bolt.’
Daniel Harding, LSO Principal Guest Conductor

Daniel Harding, already well-known to LSO audiences in his role of Principal Guest Conductor, made his mark early on when he was appointed as Sir Simon Rattle’s assistant at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at just 18 years old. Mentored by Rattle (‘sometimes you meet someone and realise, ‘I’ve either got to help this person or kill them!’ I decided to help him.’), and later by the LSO’s former Principal Conductor Claudio Abbado at the Berlin Philharmonic, Harding quickly built an impressive reputation in both opera and the orchestral repertoire, picking up an array of accolades (he was the youngest conductor to appear at the BBC Proms) and awards that venerate him in the countries he has recently called home – France, Germany and Sweden.

Sir Simon Rattle, arguably Britain’s most famous classical music export, has achieved much with his current orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, not least the pioneering Digital Concert Hall which he initiated in 2009. Responding to criticism at the time that it would cannibalise the concert hall audience, Rattle said, ‘I think that all this new technology will deliver more to more people. I’m optimistic for the future’. With the Digital Concert Hall now supporting itself financially, Rattle’s visionary gamble has led the Berlin Philharmonic into the 21st Century.

In Manchester, Sir Mark Elder has similarly been revolutionising the Hallé. Among his many achievements is the newest venue in the north west, Hallé St Peters. Just like LSO St Luke’s, the renovation of this disused church has meant the Hallé has a permanent base from which to build its education and community work and a home for the Orchestra in which to rehearse and record – a stability that the LSO has relished.

And it’s not just in bricks and mortar that our British talent has been securing the future audiences for our art form. In his position of Music Director at the Royal Opera House, Sir Antonio Pappano has, in the words of The Independent, ‘already done more as a populariser of his art than any media maestro since Leonard Bernstein’. His series on opera for the BBC was acclaimed for its passionate yet straightforward explorations of what is for some a genre with huge barriers. And with the Opera House’s outdoor BP Big Screens relaying live productions to thousands of people around the country, for free, Pappano certainly has brought opera to the masses.

The fourth Knight of the Realm in our list of British talent is Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Long known as a conductor with an interest in exploring performance technique (not least for requesting that the LSO’s violins and violas stand up to play Mendelssohn), it’s through large-scale projects that Gardiner has brought about a revolution. In 2000 Gardiner and his Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra set out to perform and record all of J S Bach’s surviving church cantatas in the 250th anniversary year of his death, a project never before attempted – it spanned 59 concerts in 50 cities. The concerts were recorded for the record label Soli Deo Gloria, specially created for the purpose of preserving this unique set of performances.

And what of the younger generation? Britain has never before had such a wealth of young conducting talent on the world’s stage, and the LSO is privileged to welcome two of the most dynamic to the 2014/15 season – both having benefitted from the support and guidance of their fellow countrymen.

At 32, Robin Ticciati is eight years younger than Harding, yet is already in his fifth season as Principal Conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and this season takes on the role of Music Director of Glyndebourne. As a 13-year-old violinist in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Ticciati was inspired to try conducting by the LSO’s late President Sir Colin Davis. Mentored by Davis and Sir Simon Rattle through his early career, like Daniel Harding, Ticciati has never formally studied conducting but possesses a natural talent that has taken him all the way to the top.

With such pioneering spirit and support for the younger generation, it is clear that the survival of classical music and orchestras themselves is safe in the hands of Britain’s brilliant conductors. 

British Conductors this Season

> Thu 2 Oct 2014
MENDELSSOHN Overture: Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage
SCHUMANN Cello Concerto in A minor
MENDELSSOHN Symphony No 5 ('The Reformation')
Sir John Eliot Gardiner conductor
Gautier Capuçon cello

> Thu 16 Oct 2014
BARTÓK Violin Concerto No 1
TCHAIKOVSKY Act 2 from The Nutcracker
Sir Antonio Pappano conductor
Janine Jansen violin

> Sun 19 Oct 2014
PANUFNIK Symphony No 10
SCHUMANN Piano Concerto
STRAUSS Ein Heldenleben
Sir Antonio Pappano conductor
Piotr Anderszewski piano

> Sun 26 Oct 2014
MAHLER Symphony No 9
Daniel Harding conductor

> Sun 7 Dec 2014
BRAHMS Symphony No 3
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No 2
Daniel Harding conductor
Emanuel Ax piano

> Sun 11 Jan 2015
SCHUMANN Das Paradies und die Peri
Sir Simon Rattle conductor
Sally Matthews peri
Mark Padmore narrator
Kate Royal soprano
Bernarda Fink alto
Andrew Staples tenor
Florian Boesch bass
London Symphony Chorus

> Thu 15 Jan 2015
WEBERN Six Pieces
BERG Three Fragments from 'Wozzeck'
LIGETI Mysteries of the Macabre
STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring
Sir Simon Rattle conductor
Barbara Hannigan soprano

> Sun 25 Jan 2015
RAVEL Piano Concerto in G major
MAHLER Symphony No 4
Robin Ticciati conductor
Simon Trpcescki piano
Karen Cargill mezzo-soprano

> Thu 5 Feb 2015
BERLIOZ Les nuits d'été
Sir Mark Elder conductor
Susan Graham mezzo-soprano

> Sun 24 May 2015
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto
BRAHMS German Requiem
Daniel Harding conductor
Christian Tetzlaff violin
London Symphony Chorus

> Tue 2 Jun 2015
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto
MAHLER Symphony No 5
Daniel Harding conductor
Janine Jansen violin

> Thu 2 Jul 2015
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No 1
DVORÁK The Wild Dove
DVORÁK The Golden Spinning Wheel
Sir Simon Rattle conductor
Krystian Zimerman piano

> Sun 5 Jul 2015
JONATHAN DOVE The Monster in the Maze: a new opera for children (UK premiere)
WALTON Symphony No 1
Sir Simon Rattle conductor
LSO Youth Choir
LSO Community Choir
London Symphony Orchestra
Alasdair Middleton libretto

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