Sir John Eliot Gardiner stands as an international leader in today's musical life, respected as one of the world's most innovative and dynamic musicians, constantly at the forefront of enlightened interpretation. His work as Artistic Director of his Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists and Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique has marked him out as a central figure in the early music revival and a pioneer of historically informed performance. As a regular guest of the world's leading symphony orchestras, such as the London Symphony Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Berlin Philharmonic, Gardiner conducts repertoire from the 17th to the 20th century.
The extent of Gardiner's repertoire is illustrated in the extensive catalogue of award-winning recordings with his own ensembles and leading orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic on major labels (including Decca, Philips, Erato and 30 recordings for Deutsche Grammophon), as wide-ranging as Mozart, Schumann, Berlioz, Elgar and Kurt Weill, in addition to works by Renaissance and Baroque composers. Since 2005 the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras have recorded on their independent label, Soli Deo Gloria, established to release the live recordings made during Gardiner's Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000, for which he received Gramophone's 2011 Special Achievement Award and a Diapason d'or de l'année 2012. His many recording accolades include two GRAMMY awards and he has received more Gramophone Awards than any other living artist.
Gardiner's long relationship with the LSO has led to complete symphony cycles and numerous recordings on LSO Live, most recently of Mendelssohn and Schumann; in autumn 2019 he conducts Suk’s Asrael with the LSO at the Barbican and on tour to the Alte Oper Frankfurt. Other guest conducting highlights this season include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Schumann’s Faustszenen), La Scala Milan (Berlioz L’Enfance du Christ) and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Holst and Percy Grainger). A highlight of the 2019 Edinburgh International Festival was Gardiner’s performances of Bernstein’s West Side Story.
Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras perform regularly at the world's major venues and festivals, including Salzburg, Berlin and Lucerne festivals, Lincoln Center and the BBC Proms where Gardiner has performed over 60 times since his debut in 1968, and where this year he conducts Benvenuto Cellini as the centrepiece of their Berlioz celebrations. In 2017 they celebrated the 450th anniversary of the birth of Monteverdi, for which they were awarded the RPS Music Award and Gardiner named Conductor of the Year at the Opernwelt Awards. Last season they also toured together to Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Teatro alla Scala and Vienna Musikverein; to celebrate the Beethoven anniversary 2020 they take a Beethoven cycle to major halls and festivals across Europe in Summer 2020. Gardiner has conducted opera at the Wiener Staatsoper, Teatro alla Scala, Milan, Opéra national de Paris and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where he has appeared regularly since his debut in 1973 and returned last season for Mozart Le Nozze di Figaro. From 1983 to 1988 he was artistic director of Opéra de Lyon, where he founded its new orchestra.
Gardiner's book, Music in the Castle of Heaven: A Portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach, was published in October 2013 by Allen Lane, leading to the Prix des Muses award (Singer-Polignac). From 2014 to 2017 Gardiner was the first ever President of the BachArchiv Leipzig. Among numerous awards in recognition of his work, Sir John Eliot Gardiner holds honorary doctorates from the Royal College of Music, New England Conservatory of Music, the universities of Lyon, Cremona, St Andrews and King’s College, Cambridge where he himself studied and is now an Honorary Fellow; he is also an Honorary Fellow of King's College, London and the British Academy, and an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music, who awarded him their prestigious Bach Prize in 2008; he became the inaugural Christoph Wolff Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Harvard University in 2014/15 and was awarded the Concertgebouw Prize in January 2016. Gardiner was made Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur in 2011 and was given the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2005. In the UK, he was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1990 and awarded a knighthood for his services to music in the 1998 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Guardian, September 2019
Gardiner conducted with almost ferocious energy. Rhythms were exactingly precise, textures beautifully illuminated, shifts in mood immaculately judged... It was impossible not to be swept away by it all...
Frankfurter Allgemeine, July 2017
To anyone who has been unfamiliar with Monteverdi until now, this trilogy should be heard. It will open up a whole new world.
Times, July 2016
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.