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Sir John Eliot Gardiner

Conductor
Founder and Artistic Director, Monteverdi Choir, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique & English Baroque Soloists / President, Bach-Archiv Leipzig / Artistic Director, Anima Mundi Festival

2017 marked another highly successful summer for Intermusica's artists, who gave critically acclaimed performances at festivals all over Europe. Read a small selection of reviews below.


Brett Dean's Hamlet received its world premiere at Glyndebourne in June and was greeted with universal acclaim. The Sunday Times called it "the operatic event of the year", while in a five star review the Times wrote that “Dean’s skill at creating a supercharged orchestral subtext to each scene is matched by his immense theatricality. Quite apart from his unerring pacing of the story, he also creates at least a dozen moments where sheer sonority alone sends shivers up the spine… The overall impression is of a richly imaginative composer at the top of his game.”


Lise Davidsen made a critically acclaimed UK operatic debut in the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in June. Described as possessing "one of the greatest voices I have ever head" by the Observer, Davidsen's debut was described as "one of those 'I was there' moments" by the Times.


Joshua Weilerstein made an "auspicious" debut at the Proms on 19 July, conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra and his sister Alisa Weilerstein in a programme of Rebel, Berlioz and Pascal Dusapin. Classical Source praised his "admirably prepared and presented" Symphonie fantastique.


Nicholas Collon and his Aurora Orchestra returned to the Proms to perform another symphony from memory on 22 July. This time, they performed Beethoven Symphony No.3 ‘Eroica’, preceded by Strauss Metamorphosen. The Times called it “gripping stuff… an astonishing feat of concentration. With Nicholas Collon favouring speeds ranging from zippy to hair-raising, there was virtuosity all around the band too…an impassioned account of Strauss’s desolate but gorgeous Metamorphosen.”


The Pavel Haas Quartet made a stellar return to the Verbier Festival on 22 July, with Bachtrack praising the quartet for their "old-fashioned virtues of watchfulness, aural alertness and intense concentration... From the micro-perfection of its opening chord to an ethereally feathered final note, this was an Allegro con brio of unfolding joys."


Michel van der Aa was the Composer in Residence at this year's Lucerne Festival, with his works performed throughout the festival. The Luzerner Zeitung praised his "easy handling of current technological possiblities", while the Neue Zurcher Zeitung wrote that his "music theatre of beguiling opulence... might offer a view of the future of opera".


Mark Wigglesworth was joined by pianist Stephen Hough and the BBC Philharmonic at the Royal Albert Hall on 29 July to perform Brahms Piano Concerto No.1, David Sawyer The Greatest Happiness on Earth and Haydn Symphony No.99. The Sunday Times claimed that Wigglesworth demonstrated "the most authoritative conducting, instantly masterly, I’ve witnessed so far at these Proms, Bernard Haitink’s appearance apart. And Wigglesworth seems close to Haitink’s level... One knew all would be right about this account because Wigglesworth’s intensity was unanswerable.”


Sir John Eliot Gardiner had a busy summer, performing twice at the Proms as well as continuing the Monteverdi Trilogy tour at the Salzburg, Edinburgh and Berlin festivals. His Proms performance of Berlioz La damnation de Faust with the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique was described as "thrilling" by the Observer in a five star review, while the Salzburger Nachrichten praised the Monteverdi Trilogy performances at the Salzburg Festival: "The harmony and the symbiotic relationship of the performers and their conductor has reached a degree of perfection, which shows style, form awareness and playful freedom."


John Wilson gave two performances at the BBC Proms this year, with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and his John Wilson Orchestra. This year, Wilson led the JWO in two critically acclaimed performances of Rogers & Hammerstein Oklahoma! on 11 August: "no conductor appreciates the importance of an orchestration’s inner voices like Wilson, or is more adept at caressing a countermelody without letting it get in the way." (Spectator)


Andreas Haefliger returned to the Edinburgh International Festival this year, giving an "inspiringly commanding" solo recital in August: "Haefliger the thinker is also the pianist who held this audience enthralled until they leapt to their feet at the end, cheering." (Herald Scotland)


Also in Edinburgh, Richard Egarr led Iestyn Davies and the Academy of Ancient Music in two performances of Bach and Telemann. The Scotsman praised the performances, which were "delivered with a style and panache that lifted the notes clean off the page with their precisely pointed rhythms."


Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Beyond the Score® was presented at the Proms on 23 August in “an excellent evening of innovation” (Bachtrack), with a a multi-media exploration of the symphony directed by Beyond the Score founder Gerard McBurney presented alongside a performance of Dvorák Symphony No.9 ‘From the New World’ from the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder.  


Leonidas Kavakos reunited with Riccardo Chailly on 25 August, as Intermusica brought the conductor and his Filarmonica della Scala to the Proms to perform Brahms and Respighi. Kavakos performed the Brahms Violin Concerto, a performance which was praised for the "the way he made the music breathe and sing in lyrical, expansive paragraphs while remaining continuously alert both to subtleties of meaning and absolute directness of expression." (Guardian)


Kirill Gerstein continued his partnership with Semyon Bychkov on 31 August, joining the conductor and the BBC Symphony Orchestra to perform Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1:
"[Gerstein] delivered the slow movement with improvisatory freedom and dazzled with crystalline virtuosity in the finale." (Daily Telegraph)

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Nine Intermusica artists nominated at the 40th Gramophone Awards

Nine Intermusica artists have been nominated for Gramophone Awards this year across a range of categories. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on 13 September, which will be live streamed on Medici.tv. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Gramophone Awards.


Sir John Eliot Gardiner is nominated in the Baroque Vocal category for his recording of Bach St Matthew Passion with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists. Gramophone described the recording as "a memorable and moving St Matthew... What really makes this one special, however, is its emotional integrity."


James Ehnes is nominated alongside his colleagues in the Ehnes Quartet in the Chamber category for their recording of Schubert String Quartet No.14 'Death and the Maiden' and Sibelius Intimate Voices. Gramophone commented that "[the] pairing of these two quartets is a stroke of programming genius... I never would have thought of putting these two works together, but in this group’s hands it has resulted in something wonderful."


Paul McCreesh's new recording of Haydn's The Seasons made with the Wrocław Baroque Orchestra and Gabrieli Consort and Players is nominated in the Choral category. McCreesh previously received a Gramophone award for his 2006 recording of Haydn's The Creation. In their review, Gramophone wrote that "McCreesh and his massed Anglo-Polish forces have given us a Seasons that thrillingly catches both the work’s bucolic exhilaration and its invocations of the sublime. And for sheer sonic splendour it’s in a class of its own."


Sir James MacMillan's Stabat Mater, recorded by Harry Christophers and the Sixteen, is nominated in the Contemporary category. Gramophone's review concluded that "Posterity might well judge this to be a 21st-century masterpiece; there is no question that this is a truly masterly recorded performance."


Also nominated in the Contemporary category is Renaud Capuçon, whose disc of three 21st century violin concertos has also been shortlisted. The three concertos, all written for Capuçon, were recorded with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and Gramophone praised Capuçon’s "probing playing [and] his welcome advocacy".


Daniil Trifonov is nominated in the Instrumental category for Transcendental, his recording of Liszt's works for solo piano. Gramophone praised the recording as a "triumph", commenting that "every decent record collection should have at least one version of all four sets of these studies. It is quite a feat for a single pianist to deliver what are, in effect, top-of-the-pile performances of almost all of the 23 separate titles – but that is what Trifonov offers."


Leo Hussain is nominated in the Opera category for Opus Arté's DVD of the revival of Fiona Shaw's Glyndebourne production of Britten The Rape of Lucretia. Gramophone singled him out for his "lyrical yet incisive" approach, writing that "conductor Leo Hussain gets finely detailed playing from his LPO instrumentalists, with every flicker of colour speaking volumes."


Roger Vignoles is nominated in the Solo Vocal category alongisde baritone Florian Boesch for their recording of Krenek's cycle Reisebuch aus den österreichischen Alpen. Vignoles was praised by Gramophone for his playing of "great control, refinement and subtlety", while the recording itself was proclaimed "an outstanding achievement."


Mary Bevan joined tenor Allan Clayton for his album Where'er You Walk, a collection of arias Handel composed for tenor John Beard, which is nominated in the Recital category. Bevan sings on 'As steals the morn', which Gramophone described as an "added bonus... it's a very attractive package."

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner's Monteverdi Trilogy continues in Berlin, Paris & Wrocław

19 August 2017

External Links:
Philharmonie de Paris

Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists continue their worldwide Monteverdi 450 tour this month with performances at the Berlin Festival, Philharmonie de Paris and the new National Forum of Music in Wrocław. Together they perform Monteverdi’s three surviving operas, L'Orfeo, Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria and L'incoronazione di Poppea, following critically acclaimed performances at the Salzburg, Edinburgh International and Lucerne festivals over the summer.


Their Monteverdi tour, “in which words and music align with the most griping, communicative immediacy” (The Times), commemorates the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi's death and has also visited Bristol’s Colston Hall, Aix-en-Provence and Barcelona’s Palau de la Música Catalana, before a historic residency at Teatro La Fenice in Venice, the composer's adopted home.
During this residency in Venice, Sir John Eliot Gardiner was honoured by Teatro La Fenice with a ‘Lifetime in Music Award’ for his services to music.


“Under John Eliot Gardiner and his exceptional group of musicians, every element in Monteverdi’s 1607 music drama was perfectly scaled and projected... Binding it together was Gardiner, knowing exactly when to allow the drama to unfold naturally, when to give it an extra push and how to give the ceremonial moments, with cornetti and sackbuts to the fore, regal and magical power. Played straight through, without an interval, it was all magically coherent, every phrase totally memorable.”
Guardian


“Gardiner has moulded cast and instrumentalists into a performance of scrupulous authenticity and expressive power. [...] he allows singers and ensemble to breathe together through florid ornamentation.”
Financial Times


“The rapport between voices and ensemble resulted in performances of electrifying intimacy. The instrumentalists deserve several paragraphs of their own.”
Observer


Performances:


Berlin Festival:
2 September: L'Orfeo
3 September: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria
5 September: L'incoronazione di Poppea


National Forum of Music, Wrocław:
7 September: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria
8 September: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria


Philharmonie de Paris:
16 September: L'Orfeo
17 September: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria
18 September: L'incoronazione di Poppea

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts 57th performance at the BBC Proms

19 July 2017

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BBC Proms

Sir John Eliot Gardiner returns to the BBC Proms this year for two performances with his own ensembles on 2 and 8 August 2017. On 2 August, Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with a late-night programme of Bach Reformation Cantatas BWV 79 and BWV 80 alongside a selection of works from Schütz Psalmen Davids.


“They are jubilatory compositions, designed with opulent orchestration and joyous melodic invention. Schütz’s works, based on Luther’s translations of the Psalm texts, include sagbutts and cornetts and make use of the impressive polychoral technique he had learned while studying in Venice with Giovanni Gabrieli. Bach’s cantatas, composed for Reformation Day (31 October), possess characteristic rhythmic and contrapuntal intensity and those presented in this programme are settings of their respective Lutheran chorales.”
Sir John Eliot Gardiner


Six days later, Gardiner conducts his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique (ORR) in Berlioz The Damnation of Faust on 8 August, continuing his multi-season Berlioz series. He is joined by American tenor Michael Spyres in the title role and Swedish mezzo-soprano Ann Hallenberg as the innocent victim, Marguerite.


“It is a work of extremely broad scope; part opera, part cantata and designed for four solo voices, full seven-part chorus, large children’s chorus and orchestra. It is an epic retelling of the Faust story that captures the extremes of man’s ambition and folly in music, by turns exquisite and grotesque, described by Berlioz as a ‘dramatic legend’.”
Sir John Eliot Gardiner


Gardiner performed for the first time at the BBC Proms in 1968 and this summer will mark his 56th and 57th concerts at the festival. Both concerts are broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.


On 30 August, Gardiner and the ORR perform The Damnation of Faust at the Festival Berlioz at La Côte-Saint-André.

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner brings Monteverdi Trilogy to Salzburg, Edinburgh & Lucerne festivals

12 July 2017

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Monteverdi 450

Sir John Eliot Gardiner, his Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists continue their worldwide Monteverdi 450 tour at three of Europe's greatest festivals this month. Together they perform Monteverdi’s three surviving operas, L'Orfeo, Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria and L'incoronazione di Poppea, at the Salzburg, Edinburgh International and Lucerne festivals. See below for details of the performances.


The Monteverdi 450 tour, “in which words and music align with the most gripping, communicative immediacy” (Hugh Canning, Times), commemorates the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi's death and has already visited Bristol, Aix-en-Provence and Barcelona, as well as a residency at Teatro La Fenice in Venice, the composer's adopted home.


During this residency in Venice, Sir John Eliot Gardiner was honoured by Teatro La Fenice with a ‘Lifetime in Music Award’ for his services to music.


“Under John Eliot Gardiner and his exceptional group of musicians, every element in Monteverdi’s 1607 music drama was perfectly scaled and projected... Binding it together was Gardiner, knowing exactly when to allow the drama to unfold naturally, when to give it an extra push and how to give the ceremonial moments, with cornetti and sackbuts to the fore, regal and magical power. Played straight through, without an interval, it was all magically coherent, every phrase totally memorable.”
Guardian


“Gardiner's sublime Monteverdi... The intelligent and delicate direction of John Eliot Gardiner, in a concert staged at the head of a cohesive team of soloists from Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists, enchanted the public in a joyous and lengthy celebration that lasted almost four hours.”
El País


“L’Orfeo is at its darkest and most painful... this Orfeo is a true ensemble affair. You may walk away remembering Gianluca Buratto’s inky Charon or the exquisite anguish of Adam’s Orfeo, but it’s just as likely to be the rhetorical swell and surge of the orchestra, breathing with the singers as they join them in telling a tale that never loses its urgency.”
Spectator


Performances:


Salzburg Festival:
26 July: L'Orfeo
28 July: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria
29 July: L'incoronazione di Poppea


Edinburgh International Festival:
14 August: L'Orfeo
15 August: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria
17 August: L'incoronazione di Poppea


Lucerne Festival:
22 August: L'Orfeo
25 August: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria
26 August: L'incoronazione di Poppea

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner presents Monteverdi trilogy at Teatro la Fenice

02 June 2017

External Links:
Monteverdi 450

Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists arrive in Venice on 16 June 2017 to present six performances of Monteverdi's three operas at the Teatro la Fenice. Gardiner and the ensembles present two concert performances each of L'Orfeo, Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria and L'incoronazione di Poppea - see below for full details.


The performances in Venice are a highlight of the year-long Monteverdi 450 tour, which commemorates the 450th anniversary of the composer's birth. Although Monteverdi was born in Cremona, he moved to Venice to take charge of the Basilica San Marco in 1613 and remained there until his death in 1643.


So far the tour has visited Bristol, Aix-en-Provence and Barcelona and the performances have been met with universal critical acclaim:


"Under John Eliot Gardiner and his exceptional group of musicians, every element in Monteverdi’s 1607 music drama was perfectly scaled and projected... Binding it together was Gardiner, knowing exactly when to allow the drama to unfold naturally, when to give it an extra push and how to give the ceremonial moments, with cornetti and sackbuts to the fore, regal and magical power. Played straight through, without an interval, it was all magically coherent, every phrase totally memorable."
Guardian


"Gardiner's sublime Monteverdi... The intelligent and delicate direction of John Eliot Gardiner, in a concert staged at the head of a cohesive team of soloists from Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists, enchanted the public in a joyous and lengthy celebration that lasted almost four hours"
El País


"L’Orfeo is at its darkest and most painful... this Orfeo is a true ensemble affair. You may walk away remembering Gianluca Buratto’s inky Charon or the exquisite anguish of Adam’s Orfeo, but it’s just as likely to be the rhetorical swell and surge of the orchestra, breathing with the singers as they join them in telling a tale that never loses its urgency."
Spectator


Full programme:


16 June: L'Orfeo
17 June: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria
18 June: L'incoronazione di Poppea
19 June: L'Orfeo 
20 June: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria
21 June: L'incoronazione di Poppea


After the performances in Venice, Gardiner leads the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists in two performances of the Monteverdi Verspers: at the cathedral in the composer's birthplace, Cremona, on 24 June, and then at Basilique de Saint-Denis in France on 27 June. The tour also visits the Salzburg, Edinburgh and Lucerne Festivals later in the summer.

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts Gewandhausorchester Leipzig in Bachfest opening concert

27 May 2017

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Bachfest Leipzig

Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts the opening weekend of concerts of the Bachfest Leipzig on 10 and 11 June 2017, leading programmes marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.


On 10 June he conducts the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Gewandhauschor and Monteverdi Choir in the opening Großes Concert. The programme includes Mendelssohn Symphony No.5 ‘Reformation’ and a number of orchestral and a capella works by Wagner, Mendelssohn, Brahms and Otto Nicolai.


On 11 June Gardiner conducts the English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir in a selection of cantatas by Schütz and Bach, a programme that they repeat this summer at the BBC Proms.


Gardiner became the first President of the Bach-Archiv Foundation in Leipzig in January 2014.

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The BBC announced the line-up for the 2017 Proms on 20 April 2017, and as ever Intermusica artists and orchestras play a leading role in the festival. Every Prom is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and on the BBC website, with select concerts broadcast on BBC television live or at a later date.


Simon Halsey’s Proms Youth Choir give the opening concert of the Proms on 14 July, performing John Adams Harmonium alongside the BBC Symphony Chorus and BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner.


Joshua Weilerstein makes his debut at the Proms on 19 July, conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra at 7.30pm the Royal Albert Hall. Weilerstein conducts a programme of Rebel Les élémens – le chaos, Berlioz Symphonie fantastique and Pascal Dusapin’s cello concerto Outscape, for which he is joined by his sister, cellist Alisa Weilerstein.


Nicholas Collon and his Aurora Orchestra return to the Proms to perform another symphony from memory at 7.30pm on 22 July. This time, they perform Beethoven Symphony No.3 ‘Eroica’, preceded by an introduction from Tom Service accompanied by excerpts from Collon and the orchestra. The programme for the concert also includes Strauss Metamorphosen.


John Wilson makes the first of two appearances at this year’s Proms at 6.30pm on 25 July when he performs with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Wilson, the orchestra’s Associate Guest Conductor, leads the orchestra in a programme of Vaughan Williams Symphony No.9 and Holst The Planets.


Christopher Purves also makes two appearances at the Proms this year, with his first coming on 27 July. Purves joins Juanjo Mena, the BBC Philharmonic and the Crouch End Festival Chorus to perform the London premiere of Mark Simpson The Immortal, an oratorio inspired by Victorian séances.


Mark Wigglesworth is joined by pianist Stephen Hough and the BBC Philharmonic at 7.30pm on 29 July to perform Brahms Piano Concerto No.1, David Sawyer The Greatest Happiness on Earth and Haydn Symphony No.99.


Sir James MacMillan’s European Requiem receives its European premiere at the Proms at 7pm on 30 July from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and conductor Xian Zhang, with Jacques Imbrailo performing as the baritone soloist. 


Sir John Eliot Gardiner returns to the Proms on 2 August with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, this time for a late night Prom at the Royal Albert Hall at 10.15pm. Gardiner conducts his ensembles in a performance of cantatas by Bach and Schütz.


David Butt Philip joins Kirill Karabits and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for the first Proms performance of Prokofiev’s cantata Seven, They are Seven at 7.30pm on 7 August.


Sir John Eliot Gardiner makes his second Proms appearance of the year at 7.30pm on 8 August, this time conducting the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique in a performance of Berlioz La damnation du Faust.


Lise Davidsen makes her debut at the Proms at 7.30pm on 10 August with the BBC Philharmonic and John Storgårds. Davidsen joins the orchestra to perform Sibelius Luonnotar and extracts from Grieg Peer Gynt.


John Wilson’s second Proms appearance this year comes on 11 August when his John Wilson Orchestra returns for its annual concert. This year, Wilson leads the orchestra in two performances of Rogers & Hammerstein Oklahoma!, at 2pm and 7.30pm.


Christopher Purves joins the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle for a performance of Schoenberg Gurrelieder at 7.30pm on 19 August. Also performing are three of Simon Halsey’s choruses – City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus, London Symphony Chorus and Orfeó Català. Halsey also leads a Gurrelieder Proms Extra Sing Day at London Imperial College earlier that day.


Tim Mead returns to the Proms alongside John Butt and the Dunedin Consort for the third concert of the Proms’ Reformation Day at 7.45pm on 20 August. Mead follows last year’s Bach Mass in B minor with Bach St John Passion, singing alongside a cast that also includes Sophie Bevan, Nicholas Mulroy, Matthew Brook and Andrew Tortise.


Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Beyond the Score® appears at the Proms at 7.30pm on 23 August, with a performance of Dvorák Symphony No.9 ‘From the New World’ given by the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder alongside a multi-media exploration of the symphony directed by Beyond the Score founder Gerard McBurney.


Leonidas Kavakos reunites with Riccardo Chailly at 6.30pm on 25 August, as Intermusica bring the conductor and his Filarmonica della Scala to the Proms to perform Brahms and Respighi. Kavakos joins the orchestra for Brahms Violin Concerto, which is followed by Respighi Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome.


Joélle Harvey returns to the Proms as Glyndebourne’s production of Mozart La clemenza di Tito comes to the Royal Albert Hall at 7pm on 28 August. Harvey takes the role of Servilia, with accompaniment from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Robin Ticciati.


Intermusica is delighted to bring the Oslo Philharmonic and Vasily Petrenko to the Proms at 7.30pm on 29 August. Petrenko conducts the orchestra in an all-Russian programme of Stravinsky The Firebird (1919 version), Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.4 and Shostakovich Symphony No.12.


Kirill Gerstein continues his partnership with Semyon Bychkov at 7.30pm on 31 August, joining the conductor and the BBC Symphony Orchestra to perform Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1.


The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra bring an all-Mendelssohn programme to the Proms this year from 1pm on 3 September. Conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado, the orchestra perform Mendelssohn Hebrides Overture, Violin Concerto with Isabelle Faust and Symphony No.5


Ben Johnson joins Sakari Oramo, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and an international cast of soloists for the Last Night of the Proms on 9 September. The Last Night begins from 7.15pm and will be broadcast live on BBC Two, and Johnson sings Kodály Te Deum.

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner begins year-long Monteverdi tour in Aix-en-Provence

26 March 2017

External Links:
Monteverdi Choir

Sir John Eliot Gardiner begins his year-long tour to commemorate the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi's birth with a performance of Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria in Aix-en-Provence on 10 April 2017. Gardiner conducts an international cast of soloists performing alongside his English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir, with a second performance of the opera following at Colston Hall in Bristol on 12 April.


Gardiner's Monteverdi tour features concert performances of the composer's three extant operas, L’Orfeo, L'incoronazione di Poppea and Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria along with performances of the Vespro della Beata Vergine of 1610.


Highlights of the tour include appearances at the Berliner Festspiele, the Salzburg, Lucerne and Edinburgh International festivals, and a performance of the complete trilogy at Teatro de La Fenice in Venice in June. Gardiner also conducts the trilogy at Carnegie Hall, Harris Theater Chicago and Paris Philharmonie, with further concerts in Barcelona, Cremona, St Denis and Festival Berlioz.


“The full unchanging gamut of human emotions – bewildering, passionate, uncomfortable and sometimes uncontrollable – form the subtext of all of Monteverdi’s surviving musical dramas,” writes Gardiner, who formed the Monteverdi Choir over 50 years ago with a performance of the Vespro della Beata Vergine of 1610 in the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge. Sir John Eliot Gardiner studied as an undergraduate at King’s College, who recently awarded him an Honorary Fellowship.


Gardiner continues: “By performing the trilogy in consecutive performances we hope to take audiences on a voyage – from the pastoral world to the court and the city, from myth to political history, from innocence to corruption, from a portrait of man subject to the whim of the gods, to a hero imprisoned by his human condition, and finally to a dual portrait of mad lovers, uncontrolled in their ambition and lust.


“Who is the true victor in the end? Perhaps the music.”


Watch Gardiner introduce the tour below:

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner returns to the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

09 February 2017

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Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

Sir John Eliot Gardiner returns to the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks this month for three concerts at Munich’s Philharmonie am Gasteig on 23, 24 and 25 February 2017.


The programme for the concerts features Debussy Images pour orchestre alongside an all-Chabrier first half of Gwendoline Overture, Suite pastoral, “Fête Polonaise” from Le Roi Malgré Lui and España.


The concert on 24 February will be broadcast live on BR-Klassik. Following the concerts in Munich, Gardiner returns to Amsterdam for three performances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner: Midsummer Night's Dream released on LSO Live on Mendelssohn’s birthday

03 February 2017

External Links:
London Symphony Orchestra

Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the London Symphony Orchestra continue their Mendelssohn recording cycle with the release of A Midsummer Night's Dream on 3 February 2017, the composer's birthday. Recorded live in concert at the Barbican Centre in London, the recording features Gardiner's Monteverdi Choir and three graduates from the Guildhall in a performance marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.


Critics praised Gardiner’s interpretation of the score, with 5-star reviews from both the Times and the Guardian, while Bachtrack wrote "I doubt I’ll hear it better played than the LSO under Sir John Eliot Gardiner…This performance tingled with drama."


A Midsummer Night's Dream is available from LSO Live in SACD and Pure Audio Blu-ray, which features high definition audio and bonus video from the concert. The recording has also been specially mastered for iTunes and is available to stream from Spotify.

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner embarks on festive tour of Europe with Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists

18 November 2016

External Links:
Barbican Centre

Sir John Eliot Gardiner embarks on a European tourwith the English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir this month, conducting eight concerts between 2 and 12 December 2016 in Frankfurt, Groningen, Berlin, Munich, Innsbruck, Vienna and Versailles, ending with a concert at London’s Barbican Centre.


Together they perform a programme of Bach including Magnificat BWV 243a, Lutheran Mass No.1 in F major BWV 233 and Cantata Süßer Trost BWV 151, with soloists drawn from the choir.


The English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir, founded over 50 years ago by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, are praised worldwide for their interpretations of Bach, most famously performing Bach’s complete set of sacred cantatas in a year-long ‘pilgrimage’ in Europe and North America.


The tour follows Gardiner’s successful six concert tour with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, performing Schubert Symphony No.5 and Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 with Kristian Bezuidenhout.


“… the audience left … full of the exuberant vitality provided by this ensemble.”
Bachtrack, November 2016


The final concert at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam was broadcast live on NPO Radio 4: click here to listen again.

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner tours Europe with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique

27 October 2016

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Philharmonie de Paris

Sir John Eliot Gardiner embarks on a major tour of Europe with his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique this month, beginning with a performance at the Philharmonie de Paris on 11 November 2016.


The tour then continues to Brugges Concertgebouw, Zurich Tonhalle, Luxembourg Philharmonie and Eindhoven Muziekgebouw, and culminates with a performance at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, which will be broadcast live on Netherlands Radio 4. The concert at the Concertgebouw marks Gardiner’s third performance of 2016 at the famous hall, where he received the coveted Concertgebouw Prize in January 2016. In March 2017 Gardiner returns to the Concertgebouw to conduct the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in a programme of Elgar and Mahler.


The ORR is the third and youngest ensemble in the Monteverdi Choir family, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014. The orchestra performed Berlioz Roméo et Juliette at the BBC Proms this summer:


“It was Gardiner’s own galvanising approach that mattered most. A score sometimes dismissed as diffuse and uneven suddenly seemed like one of the mightiest cornerstones of romanticism.”
Times, July 2016


Click here to listen to Gardiner and the ORR perform the final movement of Beethoven Symphony No.5 at the BBC Proms in 2015.

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner completes Mendelssohn cycle with LSO in London & Germany

25 September 2016

External Links:
London Symphony Orchestra

Sir John Eliot Gardiner rejoins the London Symphony Orchestra this month to complete his Mendelssohn cycle, beginning the last leg with a performance in Bonn on 9 October 2016. Gardiner and the orchestra also give two performances at the Barbican Centre, London, on 16 and 20 October, and appear in Essen, Düsseldorf and Mannheim on 10, 23 and 24 October.


The centrepiece of the programmes is Mendelssohn Symphony No.2 ‘Lobgesang’, his only choral symphony, and the LSO are joined by the Monteverdi Choir, and soloists Lucy Crowe, Jurgita Adamonytė, Michael Spryes and Patrick Grahl. In the concerts on tour, the Monteverdi Choir also join Gardiner and the LSO for Beethoven Meeresstillle und glückliche Fahrt, Op.112, after the programme opens with the third Overture from Beethoven Leonore, Op.72b.


In London, Alina Ibragimova performs Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor in the first half, and the concert on 20 October will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.


The second symphony forms the final part of the cycle recorded for LSO Live, including the five symphonies alongside several overtures and other orchestral works.


Click here to read here about the latest Mendelssohn release, of Symphonies No.1 and No.4.

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner concludes year-long St Matthew Passion Project at Anima Mundi Festival

08 September 2016

External Links:
Anima Mundi Festival

This September brings to a close Sir John Eliot Gardiner's year-long project of Bach St Matthew Passion around Europe, with a final performance at the Anima Mundi Festival in Pisa Cathedral on 22 September 2016. Gardiner, who conducts his Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, is also Artistic Director of the Anima Mundi Festival.


Previous performances of Bach’s master work throughout the year have included Amsterdam Concertgebouw, London Barbican, the Edinburgh International, Santander and San Sebastian festivals, and a memorable performance in Brussels BOZAR the day after the recent terrorist attack in March.


The recent performance at the Edinburgh International Festival was called “Magnificent” by Herald Scotland and the Times praised their “exquisitely polished performance … his performers have every note in their bones.”


Click here to read more reviews.

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner's latest recording of Mendelssohn symphonies with the London Symphony Orchestra released

25 August 2016

External Links:
LSO Live

Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the London Symphony Orchestra release their recording of Mendelssohn Symphonies No.1 and No.4 for LSO Live on 9 September 2016. Described by the Guardian as “lovingly attentive”, these Mendelssohn scores, including both versions of the third movement (the Minuet and the Scherzo) were recorded live in February 2016 and March 2014 in concerts that were greeted with great critical acclaim:


“It was the consistent suavity of the LSO’s playing under Gardiner’s baton that impressed most of all.”
Guardian, five stars


“The performance of Mendelssohn’s ‘Italian’ Symphony No 4 was like a joyous high-speed rail journey around the country, taking in sun-soaked landscapes, an upbeat pilgrims’ march, and a scalding saltarello that truly felt like a dance to the death.”
Financial Times


“Gardiner also chose to revisit Mendelssohn’s less admired First Symphony, and found plenty to dazzle us with.”
Times


“Sir John Eliot Gardiner supplely conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, accompanied by his nymph-like Monteverdi Choir. Gardiner let the standing strings resound furiously, crackling, fresh and youthful giving even the back seats a smoothly polished interpretation. The audience surged with huge applause.”
Musik Heute


“I doubt I’ll hear it better played than the LSO under Sir John Eliot Gardiner in this Mendelssohnian feast … the LSO was bold and impactful, the bright, aggressive sound bringing out the brilliance in Mendelssohn’s string writing.”
Bachtrack 


The release follows Gardiner's recordings of of the composer's Symphonies No.3 and No.5, which were released in 2014 and 2015 respectively.


Pre-order from LSO Live
Pre-order on iTunes
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Listen on Apple Music 

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts Roméo et Juliette at BBC Proms

16 July 2016

External Links:
BBC Proms

Sir John Eliot Gardiner returns to the BBC Proms on 30 July for his 55th appearance at the festival. His Orchestra Revolutionnaire et Romantique (ORR) will be joined by his Monteverdi Choir, the National Youth Choir of Scotland and soloists Julie Boulianne (mezzo), Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (tenor) and Laurent Naouri (bass) for Berlioz’s large-scale choral symphony Roméo et Juliette.


Gardiner and his ensembles have long been performing at the Proms, first appearing on 11 September 1968 with the festival’s first complete performance of Monteverdi Vespers of 1610. Gardiner and his romantic orchestra (ORR) are renowned for their interpretations of Berlioz, with yearly invitations to the Festival Berlioz in La Côte Saint-André. In 2015, the ORR and Gardiner performed Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, taking it subsequently to the Edinburgh International Festival alongside his sequel Lélio, also featuring the National Youth Choir of Scotland and Laurent Naori.


The Times wrote of their performance at the BBC Proms:


“In both there was brilliantly energised articulation, startling timbres from the period strings, woodwind, brass and percussion and silky rubato. With the violins and violas standing throughout and the brass and woodwind brought to their feet at key points, the players were responsive to every flick of Gardiner’s beat.”


Listen to an excerpt from that concert with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the ORR performing the final movement of Beethoven Symphony No.5 on Gardiner's profile.

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner & Ian Hislop explore Beethoven Symphony No.5 on the BBC

27 May 2016

External Links:
BBC Two

Sir John Eliot Gardiner joins Ian Hislop for The Secrets of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, broadcast at 9pm on BBC Two on 28 May 2016.


Described as the 'greatest 'great' piece ever written,' the symphony's opening notes are among the most recognisable in history. The traditional interpretation is that Beethoven is railing against fate and his deafness. But Gardiner believes the music expresses Beethoven's belief in the French Revolution, and he joins broadcaster and editor of Private Eye Ian Hislop to explore the exciting and dangerous times that shaped Beethoven personally and creatively.


The Secrets of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is followed by Playing Beethoven's Fifth at 7pm on BBC Four on 29 May. The programme is a complete recording of the symphony, performed by Gardiner and his Orchestre Romantique et Révolutionnaire at St John's Smith Square. In addition to the performance, Gardiner and the principals of the orchestra discuss the issues in trying to breathe new life into such a famous piece and how their period instruments transform the symphony's sound.

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts Stravinsky in first return to Berliner Philharmoniker for ten years

19 May 2016

External Links:
Berliner Philharmoniker

Sir John Eliot Gardiner returns to perform with the Berliner Philharmoniker for the first time in ten years, conducting three concerts on 2, 3 and 4 June 2016.


The main focus of the programme is Stravinsky’s contrasting settings of Ancient Greek tragedy and myth, with his ‘Opera-oratorio’, Oedipus Rex, as its focus. Gardiner is joined by Andrew Staples (Oedipus), Jennifer Johnston (Jocasta), Ashley Riches (Creon), Gareth Treseda (Shepherd), Alex Ashworth (Messenger) and Gianluca Burrata (Tiresias), alongside the Men of the Rundfunkchor Berlin.


Bruno Ganz takes the part of the narrator. Ganz joined Gardiner for performances in February of Mendelssohn’s incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with the London Symphony Orchestra in Frankfurt and Hannover. The performances are partly staged with the cast singing from memory and will be available on the Digital Concert Hall live on 4 June and subsequently on demand.


Opening the programme is Stravinsky Apollon musagète, written as a ballet in two tableaux for an enlarged string ensemble of 34 players (with double cellos). The work uses the neo-classical/-baroque to illustrate a modern treatment of the story of Apollo and his instruction of the muses of poetry, rhetoric and dance.


Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s recent recording of both works, also with the LSO and with Johnston, Treseda, Ashworth, was released in 2014:


“A thrilling and dynamic performance … Gardiner leads the LSO in first-rate music-making.”
Sinfini Music

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner & the Monteverdi Choir & Orchestras announce major international tour of Monteverdi operas

05 May 2016

External Links:
Monteverdi Choir & Orchestras

On 30 April 2016, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras announced an international tour of Monteverdi's surviving operas, L'Orfeo, Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria and L'incoronazione di Poppea, to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the composer's birth in 1567.


The tour will visit the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy and the United States and begins with a performance of Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria in Aix-en-Provence on 10 April 2017, Gardiner's first time conducting the opera. Further highlights of the tour include complete performances of the three operas at La Fenice, Venice, in June and appearances at the Berliner Festspiele and Lucerne Festival.


Speaking at the announcement of the tour at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice, Gardiner said:


“The full unchanging gamut of human emotions - bewildering, passionate, uncomfortable and sometimes uncontrollable - form the subtext of all of Monteverdi's surviving musical dramas... By performing the trilogy in consecutive performances we hope to take audiences on a voyage – from the pastoral world to the court and the city, from myth to political history, from innocence to corruption, from a portrait of man subject to the whim of the gods, to a hero imprisoned by his human condition, and finally to a dual portrait of mad lovers, uncontrolled in their ambition and lust. Who is the true victor in the end? Perhaps the music.”


Click here for more information about the tour.

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"Unique in its rhetorical force, fulfilment and brimming with ideas": Sir John Eliot Gardiner's St Matthew Passion universally praised

31 March 2016

Sir John Eliot Gardiner has received widespread critical acclaim for a recent series of performances of Bach St Matthew Passion. With his Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, he performed eight concerts across six countries throughout March.


The performance given at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels on 23 March was broadcast live and can be listened to again here.


LONDON


"The precision of the playing and choral singing [...] was exceptional."
Financial Times, five stars


"An exquisitely polished performance … his performers have every note in their bones."
Times


“A beautifully focused interpretation, exacting in its differentiation between narrative drama and devotional reflection, deeply felt yet avoiding any trace of sanctimony… The choral singing and orchestral playing … were matchless in their fervour, radiance and expressive control.”
Guardian


“I can’t recall a St Matthew Passion where the words have seemed quite so important, driving the text and insisting we follow the narrative.”
Lark Reviews


“The Monteverdi Choir triumphed, the chorales a masterpiece of sculpted, heartfelt beauty, yet there was huge drama on occasion also. This was a tremendous performance.”
Seen and Heard International


“… alive with incident and a sense of narrative propulsion.”
Classical Source


“[Gardiner] knows the score backwards and this ease was obvious in the simultaneous control he maintained and in the freedom he gave his soloists. Large, expressive gestures conveyed the greater meaning of the piece and held the performance together, whilst allowing his singers to bring individuality and a deeper meaning to each scene. In allowing his forces space to breathe, Gardiner wrought an expansive reading of the score that unlocked the deep pathos of the work – the suffering of the Passion.”
Bachtrack


BRUSSELS


“[The performance] sounded warm and vibrant in the packed hall of the Bozar. [...] Choir and orchestra were on top musical form. The soloists were highly articulate … The St Matthew Passion sounded thoroughly sophisticated, a beautiful gift for a traumatised Brussels."
De Standaard


"Following the attacks in Brussels, the St. Matthew Passion almost did not take place. But John Eliot Gardiner held fast in keeping the engagement, to try and find some meaning, and to offer music, particularly that of Bach, as a response to the horror. [...] A few words of introduction were given, explaining that Bach's music has a unique ability to embrace everyone.”
Forum Opera


“The St Matthew Passion is all about suffering, comfort, mercy and hope. As if Bach had written it specifically for this evening. The applause was unstoppable and a standing ovation retuned our faith in the goodness of mankind and the meaning of life.”
De Tijd


AMSTERDAM


“The Monteverdi Choir: twenty-eight forces, rock-solid and perfectly articulate as a choir. The extreme transparency that characterises the full sound of this group is peerless.”
Trouw


“Gardiner conducts an unforgettable St Matthew Passion … unique in its rhetoric force, fulfilment and brimming with ideas.”
NRC Handelsblad, five stars


LUCERNE


“Overall, we experienced an important interpretation of this Passion. Sir John Eliot Gardiner keeps the tension throughout the performance … [and] develops it in a purely musical way, with no trace of vanity or self-indulgence.”
Neue Merker


“Gardiner’s cues were clear and fully embracing … The choir’s command of the score and gorgeous harmonies as a group were entirely flawless.”
Bachtrack


“Gardiner has the music in his blood, and his love of the work is evident in his body language … a wondrous performance.”
Seen and Heard


“From the very start, Gardiner’s forces confirmed their excellent reputation for Baroque repertoire.”
Neue Luzerner Zeitung


PAMPLONA


“John Eliot Gardiner is one of the great conductors of our time. His concerts always have something special … His reading of this great work had a truly exceptional delicacy and sensitivity.”
Opera World


BARCELONA


“Gardiner’s interpretation communicated the feelings of recollection, piety and pain in the score which went beyond the limits of transcendence and communication.”
El Periódico


“The Monteverdi Choir, who performed a work of more than three hours without sheet music, is an almost unbelievable combination of reliability and sensitivity. The finest choir members also took the solo arias with admirable skill.”
El País


VALENCIA


“Sir John Eliot Gardiner's version reminds us that he is one of the highest authorities in this repertoire. His version is perfect with profundity and delicacy, conducted with absolute devotion.”
Las Provincias

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St Matthew Passion in memory of Brussels victims: Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists

23 March 2016

External Links:
Press release, Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras

Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists will continue with their performance in Brussels tonight of Bach St Matthew Passion, in memory of the victims of yesterday’s attacks. The performance will take place, as planned, at Brussels Centre for Fine Arts.


In a statement on their website, the Monteverdi Choir refer to the Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region, Rudi Vervoort, who “has asked the citizens of Brussels to try to continue life as normal, including the resumption of cultural events. To show our solidarity with this city in mourning we are travelling to Brussels and will continue with tonight’s concert.”


The concert will be broadcast live on Radio Klara and RTBF Musiq3.


Read the full press release from the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras here

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner: European tour of St Matthew Passion

11 March 2016

External Links:
Barbican Centre

Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists perform Bach St Matthew Passion on tour across Europe this month, starting with a performance in Valencia on 11 March 2016. The tour continues to Pamplona Baluarte, Barcelona Palau de la Música, KKL Lucerne, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Brussels BOZAR, and Philharmonie de Paris, before culminating in a final performance at the Barbican Centre in London on Easter Saturday (26 March). Gardiner and his ensembles perform the piece throughout the rest of the season and at summer festivals, including dates in Santander, San Sebastian, Braunschweig, Pisa and Wrocław. Notably, they also perform the oratorio at Leipzig’s Thomaskirche, where the piece received its first performance in 1725.


Soloists for the tour are drawn from the Monteverdi Choir, joined by Evangelists Mark Padmore (for the Easter tour) and James Gilchrist (for the summer tour), alongside Stephan Loges as Christus.


With the English Baroque Soloists playing on period instruments as usual, choir and soloists will perform from memory, supporting what Gramophone described as the “vivid sense of theatre” in Gardiner’s seminal 1988 recording of the work. The Monteverdi Choir itself states that the decision “stems from the desire to seek a level of communication with the audience that would be unachievable from behind the barrier of the score”.


The concert in Brussels on 23 March will be broadcast live on Radio Klara as part of BOZAR’s Klarafestival.

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“I doubt I’ll hear it better”: Sir John Eliot Gardiner receives outstanding reviews for Mendelssohn with LSO & Monteverdi Choir

18 February 2016

Sir John Eliot Gardiner has been hugely praised by critics for the third instalment of his Mendelssohn cycle with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), with concerts in Germany and London this February. The LSO, Gardiner and his Monteverdi Choir, performed Mendelssohn Symphony No.1 (including the London revision of the third movement) and Incidental Music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.


The concert was broadcast live and available for catch-up on BBC Radio 3.


“You’d have had to be an ass to have found this performance of Mendelssohn’s incidental music anything other than magical … John Eliot Gardiner unlocked both the silken beauty of this music and its evanescence. Nothing was pushed: the suite was borne on featherlight strings and sylvan woodwinds … Ethereal fairy choruses were beautifully handled by the Monteverdi Choir … Gardiner also chose to revisit Mendelssohn’s less admired First Symphony, and found plenty to dazzle us with … boosted by violin and viola players standing on stage rather than sitting, Gardiner led a buoyant and zestful performance.”
Times, five stars


“The Monteverdi Choir very nearly stole the whole show with a pinpoint perfect rendering of the fairies’ lullaby for Titania … but it was the consistent suavity of the LSO’s playing under Gardiner’s baton that impressed most of all … the winds were outstanding in Mendelssohn’s shimmering score … such a lovingly attentive performance as this one by the London Symphony Orchestra under John Eliot Gardiner.”
Guardian, five stars


“Gardiner floated the ‘Wedding March’ between bombast and brilliance: it put the fresh back into the familiar … The twelve sopranos and mezzos from the Monteverdi Choir managed to make the ‘Hence away’ chorus both sensual and ethereal, and the orchestra was, even by LSO standards, amazingly fleet in the ‘Scherzo’.”
Classical Source


“Gardiner conducted as a gentleman and master of ceremonies … the highest discipline is the first commandment of perfect musicians, and was clear throughout.”
Frankfurter Rundschau


“Sir John Eliot Gardiner supplely conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, accompanied by his nymph-like Monteverdi Choir. Gardiner let the standing strings resound furiously, crackling, fresh and youthful giving even the back seats a smoothly polished interpretation. The audience surged with huge applause.”
Musik Heute


“The substantial improvement [of the new Kuppelsaal] becomes very clear through hearing the fabulous female singers of the Monteverdi Choir: their voices sound warm, clear and they reach both the ears and hearts of the listening audience.”
Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung


“I doubt I’ll hear it better played than the LSO under Sir John Eliot Gardiner in this Mendelssohnian feast … the LSO was bold and impactful, the bright, aggressive sound bringing out the brilliance in Mendelssohn’s string writing.”
Bachtrack (UK)


“Gardiner conducted here every dynamic nuance, so that sound, colour and texture have been transformed: not only transparent but also lively … by captivating phrasing and emphasis, antiphonal formation and exemplary standard of balance, precision and freshness in the work, Mendelssohn's powerful, surging, fine tonal language was even more effective … The Monteverdi Choir sang the fairy dances flawlessly with lean and delicate voices … and provided the solo performances, all reciting in the most tender and tonally pure way which was perfected with the greatest vocal and lyrical persuasiveness.”
Bachtrack (Germany)

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner receives the Concertgebouw Prize

04 February 2016

External Links:
Monteverdi Choir & Orchestras

Sir John Eliot Gardiner has been awarded the Concertgebouw Prize. The award, which was presented by Concertgebouw Chairman Hans Wijers in January, is given to a musician (or ensemble) that has made an important contribution to the artistic profile of the Concertgebouw. Former laureates of the prize include The Beaux Art Trio, Cecilia Bartoli and Janine Jansen. Gardiner has a long history of performing at the Concertgebouw with his ensembles and with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (totalling more than 50 performances).


The laudatio was given by Simon Reinink, General Manager of the Concertgebouw, who reminisced on his own experiences of Gardiner’s performances in the Concertgebouw over the last 20 years. Reinink remarked on his ability to bring out the best qualities of the concert hall itself, continually developing on the whole fabric of a performance, not only by continually challenging interpretations of the music, but also making the most of the stage and the acoustics. Reinink went on to say:


“The Gardiner sound – if I may say so - is easily recognizable because of its purity, balance, pronounced interpretation (it sounds so logical!) and overwhelming musicality. Take for instance The Monteverdi Choir: it sounds like crystal clear mountain spring water. Radiant, stunning and straight to the gut.”


Following the presentation of the award, the Monteverdi Choir performed a selection of short a cappella works by Purcell, Allegri and Brahms, finishing with Non nobis, Domine (attrib. Byrd, arr. Gardiner).

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner continues Mendelssohn cycle with the London Symphony Orchestra and Monteverdi Choir

27 January 2016

External Links:
Barbican Centre

John Eliot Gardiner continues his Mendelssohn cycle with the London Symphony Orchestra this February with concerts on 10, 11 and 16 February 2016 at the Alteoper, Frankfurt, Congress Centrum, Hannover and Barbican Hall, London. The concerts present Mendelssohn’s incidental music written in 1826 and 1842 for A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare.


The two concerts in Germany feature Swiss actor Bruno Ganz as narrator, whilst in London the narration is split into respective roles of Puck, Oberon and Titania, taken by alumni actors from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.


Joining the LSO for these concerts is Gardiner’s own Monteverdi Choir. In the first half of the concert, Gardiner conducts Mendelssohn’s Symphony No.1 in its London version of 1829, with the strings standing throughout.


The London concert on 16 February will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and recorded for deferred broadcast on Mezzo TV; it will also be recorded for LSO Live Audio and Audio-Video. It will be John Eliot Gardiner’s third Mendelssohn recording with the LSO, with the first featuring Symphony No.3 'Scottish' recorded in January 2014 and the second featuring Symphony No.5 ‘Reformation’, both receiving outstanding reviews:


Mendelssohn Symphony No.5, 'Reformation':


“Close to the ideal Gardiner experience: stringent while full of expressive detail, close-focus while still drawing the bigger picture. Partnered by the London Symphony Orchestra at its most lithe and virtuosic, Gardiner makes [Mendelssohn] fizz with excitement…with some remarkable finesse in the dynamics along the way.”
Times, May 2015


“John Eliot Gardiner with the LSO brings pace, clarity and flaming-eyed conviction to the performance.”
Financial Times, May 2015


Mendelssohn Symphony No.3, Overture ‘The Hebrides’, Schumann Piano Concerto:


“Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Hebrides Overture must be one of the most thrilling ever recorded, adding volleys of sea-spray to well-navigated execution...
...Gardiner brilliantly delineates orchestral textures and proves a perfect collaborative partner for Pires.”
Editor's Choice, Gramophone, January 2015


“As a performance, this ‘Scottish’ Symphony is as fresh, vital and even thrilling as any I’ve ever heard – and given the exceptional quality of the sound it easily goes to the top of my list… it is so good that it can be recommended without hesitation.”
International Record Review, January 2015

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts Glagolitic Mass with Alisa Kolosova, Monteverdi Choir & Tonhalle Orchester Zürich 

21 November 2015

Related profiles:
Alisa Kolosova

Sir John Eliot Gardiner makes his debut with the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich in two performances on 5 and 6 December 2015. He conducts a programme of late Romantic Czech music, including Janáček Ballad of Blaník and Dvorák The Golden Spinning Wheel. Last in the programme is Janáček Glagolitic Mass, for which Gardiner is joined by his own Monteverdi Choir and soloists including fellow Intermusica artist Alisa Kolosova, Ľuba Orgonášová, Pavel Černoch and Peter Mikuláš.


Alisa Kolosova, making her Tonhalle Orchester debut, continues her busy season with a series of notable role debuts: Isoletta in La Straniera at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Eboli Don Carlo in São Paulo and a much anticipated debut as Dalila in Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila in Basel. Further notable engagements include Maddalena at Bayerische Staatsoper and her Dutch National Opera debut in a new production of Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette. On the concert platform she sang Das Lied von der Erde at the Philharmonie de Paris with Orchestra National de France and Mikko Franck in October.

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner releases Bach Mass in B minor with Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists

10 November 2015

External Links:
Monteverdi Choir - Shop

Sir John Eliot Gardiner releases a new recording of J.S. Bach Mass in B minor on 13 November 2015. Recorded with his Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, this is Gardiner’s first release of this seminal work since recording it for the first time thirty years ago. The recording was made in an open session at the culmination of their hugely successful European tour of the work in spring 2015 and reflects both the atmosphere of the fully sold-out concerts and Gardiner’s long history of performing the work.


Read some of the critical acclaim so far:


“Superlative singing from the Monteverdi Choir… How marvellous to hear Bach’s swirls of choral counterpoint delivered with such fearless ebullience and clarity.”
Times


“The magnificence registered fully in Gardiner’s measured, purposeful interpretation, carried off with a combination of strength and delicacy.”
Guardian


“The Crucifixus was sung as though in a state of shock; the urgent Confiteor dissolved into suspended animation before the liberating explosion of the Resurrection, followed by a Sanctus fuelled by titanic forced; the Agnus Dei melted my heart.”
Independent


“I think this should be near the top of your Christmas list, if you can bear to wait“
BBC Radio 3 CD Review


“This could easily have been the shortest review that I have ever written: this is as perfect as it gets.“
MusicWeb International, Recording of the Month


Read an interview with Sir John Eliot in November’s edition of Gramophone and hear him talk to Catherine Bott about the release here.


The recording is available on the Monteverdi ensembles’ own label, Soli Deo Gloria, from 13 November 2015. It is presented in a 2-CD casebook and contains a booklet featuring original notes by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, translated in English, German and French – click here to buy a copy.

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"Musically we are in heaven from start to finish": Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts Orphée et Eurydice

24 September 2015

External Links:
Royal Opera House

Sir John Eliot Gardiner, hailed by Die Welt as “the great Gluck master of our time” has received huge critical acclaim for Gluck Orphée et Eurydice which opened at the Royal Opera House in September. The production features his ensembles, the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists, alongside Hofesh Shechter Company and cast Juan Diego Flórez, Lucy Crowe and Amanda Forsythe.


“With Gardiner’s superb choir and period band honouring the grace of Gluck’s non-stop stream of melodies… musically we are in heaven from start to finish.”
Independent, five stars


“… the whole evening was a breakthrough: I’d return immediately. The response, for Gardiner and his players especially, was thunderous. The bar is set high for the rest of the ROH season.”
Observer


“… John Eliot Gardiner ensured that the playing was dazzlingly effective… it was the orchestra that made the biggest impression.”
Guardian


“…blissfully conducted by John Eliot Gardiner…”
Times


“But the real stars of the show, rightly placed at its heart, are Gardiner, his orchestra and the Monteverdi Choir. Their performances of Orphée et Eurydice at the Châtelet in Paris in 1999 were a high watermark, but Gardiner goes further now, taking risks that push his musicians and Gluck to the limits of the possible.”
Financial Times


“Gardiner, together with his English Baroque Soloists, picks up this idea of lived drama; he succeeds in creating orchestral dramas that are compelling in their detail, whilst still remaining true to the unprecedented brightness of Gluck’s orchestral cosmos.”
Süddeutsche Zeitung


“The period instruments of the English Baroque Soloists, ranged across the stage, rising and falling with the action, also play stylishly under John Eliot Gardiner’s direction.”
Evening Standard


“… Gardiner’s Monteverdi Choir here showed just why it pays to bring in specialists … to sing music they understand so well.”
The Arts Desk


“It’s wonderful how Gardiner, together with the Baroque Soloists, combines the points of view of both singers and dancers, but also brings diverging feelings together. The orchestra is the real star of the evening: at once expressive and restrained, as clear as glass, energetic, laying emotions bare without ever creating false pathos.”
Neue Zürcher Zeitung


“His conducting of this Orphée grips from the outset … an orchestra on fire under Gardiner’s baton.”
Sunday Times


Tickets for the remaining shows are available here.

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner returns to the Royal Opera House for Orphée & Eurydice

01 September 2015

External Links:
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

John Eliot Gardiner returns to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on 14 September 2015 to begin the season with Gluck Orphée et Euridice. Gardiner’s return to the Royal Opera House marks 42 years since his debut at the house and he is joined by tenor Juan Diego Flórez in the role of Orphée and sopranos Lucy Crowe and Amanda Forsythe as Eurydice and Amour.


The production, which features dancers from the Hofesh Shechter Company, is co-directed by John Fulljames and Hofesh Shechter and John Eliot Gardiner is joined by his English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir as orchestra and chorus.


There are further performances of Orphée & Eurydice on 17, 20, 23, 26, 28, 30 September and 3 October. Watch the trailer below.

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner & Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique at Edinburgh International Festival

Sir John Eliot Gardiner returns to the Edinburgh International Festival on 13 August with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique for a performance of Berlioz Symphonie fantastique and Lélio. They will be joined by the National Youth Choir of Scotland and its Chorus Master Christopher Bell, tenor Michael Spyres, bass Laurent Naouri and narrator Peter Eyre.


The concert takes place at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, and follows their performance of Symphonie fantastique at the BBC Proms on 9 August. Listen to their Proms performance here.


On 23 August, they take the same programme to the Festival Berlioz in France.

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the BBC Proms

21 July 2015

External Links:
BBC Proms: L'Orfeo
BBC Proms: Beethoven & Berlioz

This year, John Eliot Gardiner conducts two concerts in one week at the BBC Proms on 4 and 9 August at the Royal Albert Hall.


In the first Prom, Gardiner conducts the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists in a concert performance of Monteverdi L’Orfeo, with the title role sung by Krystian Adam. Gardiner, Adam, choir and orchestra performed the opera on a tour of the United States this April, culminating in a performance at Carnegie Hall, New York. The New York Times praised the "resplendent" performance and the "fascinating spatial effects" created by Gardiner and the orchestra.


The second Prom is with Gardiner’s other period-instrument ensemble, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique. He conducts a programme of Beethoven Symphony No.5 and Berlioz Symphonie fantastique.


Both concerts will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 at 7.30pm and 8pm respectively.

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner performs at Bachfest Leipzig & Aldeburgh Festival

31 May 2015

External Links:
Bachfest Leipzig
Aldeburgh Festival

This month, Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists in Leipzig and Aldeburgh on 14, 19 and 20 June 2015.


In his capacity as President of the Bach-Archiv Leipzig and a world-renowned Bach specialist and academic, Gardiner is a regular visitor to the Leipzig Bachfest. This year he conducts the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists in a performance of Bach Cantata No.198 and Mozart Requiem on 14 June.


Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque soloists then open their weekend residency at the Aldeburgh Festival on 19 June with a performance of the same programme. They are joined by violinist Isabelle Faust the following day for two concerts of J.S.Bach and J.C.Bach.


Gardiner and the two ensembles have collaborated on many critically-acclaimed Bach recordings, the pinnacle of which were the recordings of their year-long pilgrimage of Bach Cantatas released on their own label, Soli Deo Gloria.

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John Eliot Gardiner returns to Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunk with Antoine Tamestit

07 May 2015

Related profiles:
Antoine Tamestit

Sir John Eliot Gardiner returns to Munich to conduct two concerts at the Herkulessaal with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunk on 21 and 22 May 2015. The orchestra will perform a programme of Schubert’s ‘Great’ Symphony in C major and Berlioz Harold in Italy with soloist Antoine Tamestit, and the first concert will be broadcast live on BR-Klassik radio.


Gardiner conducted the orchestra in a programme of Haydn, Mendelssohn and Bruckner in May 2014 at the Gasteig, when they were also joined by the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks. Watch the full concert here.

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John Eliot Gardiner tours Monteverdi in the USA

05 April 2015

This spring Sir John Eliot Gardiner tours the USA with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists from 19 April, culminating in two concerts at Carnegie Hall on 30 April and 1 May.


The tour will feature two Monteverdi programmes: his first opera L’Orfeo and Vespro della Beata Virgine of 1610, which performed by the Monteverdi Choir in its first ever concert in 1964 at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge.


Read more about the Monteverdi Choir’s 50th anniversary here.

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John Eliot Gardiner: European tour with Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists

09 March 2015

Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists perform Bach Mass in B minor with, performing in Munich Gasteig (23 March), Frankfurt Alte Oper (25 March), KKL Lucerne (25 March), Aix-en-Provence (1 April) and Paris Philharmonie (3 April).


The Paris concert will mark Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir’s Philharmonie debut, as the choir celebrates its 50th anniversary.


Amongst soloists, drawn from members of the choir, is bass David Shipley, who previously joined Sir John Eliot Gardiner for a recording of Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex with the London Symphony Orchestra.

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner: Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Harvard University

19 January 2015

External Links:
Harvard Music Faculty

Sir John Eliot Gardiner spends a week at Harvard University during February, as its inaugural Christoph Wolff Distinguished Visiting Scholar. The residency runs from 2 to 8 February, and begins with a conversation with composer-pianist Vijay Iyer, Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts at Harvard on 2 February.


Alongside informal talks and workshops, Gardiner will also conduct an informal concert with the University Choir, Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum and Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra on 7 February, and an open discussion and rehearsal of Mozart Piano Concerto No.24 with pianist Robert Levin and the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra on 8 February at the Sanders Theatre.

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Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Beethoven Symphony No.5

18 November 2014

Sir John Eliot Gardiner was one of nine conductors invited by Gramophone to discuss Beethoven's symphonies and to contribute to a complete commentary, each choosing one symphony, which they have recorded.


Gardiner, whose recordings of Beethoven symphonies for Deutsche Grammophon were praised by BBC Music Magazine for their “palpable sense of commitment and imagination”, discussed Symphony No.5. Click here to read his full article.


Gardiner’s legendary recordings with his own Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique were reprised live at Carnegie Hall, with Symphony Nos 5 and 7, and were released as part of the orchestra's 25th celebrations. The performance and recordings were praised by critics:


"The Allegretto was sinuous and haunting, the finale joyously visceral. And from fate’s knock at the onset of the Fifth Symphony, Mr. Gardiner wrought Beethoven fresh and strange, with gutsy, brash and rasping instrumental voices united in triumph."
New York Times


"After hearing these explosive, invigorating and electrifying performances, we are reminded once again of the ferocious intensity that must have shell-shocked 19th century Viennese audiences."
BBC Music Magazine


"The execution is fabulous, the superlative stylistic foundation always at the service of the music's rhythm, energy and inner logic."
Financial Times


Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the ORR brought ‘the Fifth’ to the Barbican Centre on 7 November where the critics confirmed their revolutionary spirit as strong as it was 25 years ago:


“Beethoven’s Symphony No.5 has always responded to Gardiner’s uninhibited drive, but after two fully involving movements this performance suddenly went into overdrive. In the scherzo cellos and basses shot out of the blocks like Usain Bolt. Wind and brass, leaping to their feet, launched the finale with hair-raising intensity as Gardiner and team charged towards the finishing-line. Twenty-five years on, Beethoven on period instruments should not still be as exciting as this.”
Financial Times


“The performance of the Fifth Symphony was quite simply one of the most ebullient, pungently characterised and dazzlingly played that I have ever heard.”
Times 

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European festival tour with LSO & Sir John Eliot Gardiner

16 August 2014

Gautier Capuçon begins his 2014/15 season with the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir John Eliot Gardiner, for a European festival tour beginning on 30 August.


 


Capuçon first joins Gardiner and the orchestra for Schumann Cello Concerto in A minor Op.129 at the Berlioz Festival on 30 August, where the orchestra also performs extracts from Berlioz’s ‘symphonie dramatique’, Romeo et Juliette.


 


The main part of the tour features a programme of Mendelssohn Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt Op.27 and Symphony No.5 in D major, Op.107 ‘Reformation’, and Schumann Cello Concerto in A minor Op.129 with soloist Capuçon. With this programme, they open the Beethovenfest Bonn on 6 September, and then take this on to the Freiburg Konzerthaus on 7 September, the Philharmonie Luxembourg on 10 September and the Kurhaus Wiesbaden for the Rheinhgau Musik Festival on 11 September.


 


Finally, Capuçon and the LSO perform at the Barbican Hall, London, on 2 October.

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Intermusica represents Sir John Eliot Gardiner worldwide

Stephen Lumsden
Managing Director
+44 20 7608 9911

Francis Williams
Associate Artist & Project Manager, Managing Director’s Office
+44 20 7608 9918
fwilliams@intermusica.co.uk

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