Sir John Eliot Gardiner
“I would say that no other musician brings more
intellectual rigor or innate musical sensibility to their work”
- Michael Harrison, Trumpet
Founder and artistic director of the Monteverdi Choir, the English Baroque Soloists and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Sir John Eliot Gardiner is one of the most versatile conductors of our time.
He appears regularly with leading symphony orchestras such as the LSO, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Royal Concertgebouw, Bayerischer Rundfunk and Orchestre National de France. Formerly artistic director of the Opéra de Lyon (1983-88) and chef fondateur of its orchestra, the centre of his opera projects in France moved at first to the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris with Gluck’s Orphée and Alceste, Weber’s Oberon, Verdi’s Flastaff and most notably with Berlioz Les Troyens in 2003, and then to the Opéra Comique where he conducted new productions of Carmen, Pelléas et Mélisande Chabrier’s L’Etoile, and the Weber-Berlioz Le Freyschütz with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique.
Acknowledged as a key figure in the early music revival of the past four decades, he has lead his own ensembles in a number of ambitious large-scale tours, including year-long Bach Cantata Pilgrimage to celebrate the 250th year of the composer’s death in the millennium year. Most recently in 2013 he performed with them in a nine-hour “Bach Marathon” at the Royal Albert Hall.
The extent of Gardiner’s repertoire is illustrated by over 250 recordings for major record companies and by numerous international awards including the Gramophone’s Special Achievement Award for live recordings of the complete church cantatas of JS Bach by Soli Deo Gloria.
In recognition of his work, Sir John Eliot Gardiner has received several international prizes, and honorary doctorates from the University of Lyon, the New England Conservatory of Music, and the University of Pavia. In 1992 he became an Honorary Fellow of both King’s College London and the Royal Academy of Music and in 2007/8 a Visiting Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge. He was made a CBE in 1990 and a Knight Bachelor in the 1998 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. He was nominated Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1996 an received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2005. He was made Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 2010.
In 2013 he won the Critics’ Circle’s Outstanding Musician award. He was recently appointed president of the Bach Archive in Leipzig, and his long-awaited book on Bach, Music in the Castle of Heaven, was published by Penguin in 2013.