Daniel Harding has played an integral role in the history and development of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra since the very beginning.
Since 1998, he has held different titles with the orchestra, shaping the MCO’s sound through intensive work on repertoire ranging from opera and symphonic compositions to world premieres. Under the leadership of Daniel Harding, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra has traveled to 21 countries on 3 continents.
From 1998 to 2003, Daniel Harding was the MCO’s Principal Guest Conductor. During this time, he led the MCO in extended residencies at the Festival International d’Art Lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence. Some of the most important opera productions staged during this time include Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. In 2003, Daniel Harding became the MCO’s Music Director. In the next four years, he would play a formative role in shaping the orchestra’s interpretation of core repertoire, especially the works of Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. He also began to explore pieces from the Second Viennese School together with the MCO. In 2007, Daniel Harding assumed the position of Principal Conductor. Some notable projects undertaken during this period include a three-week residency at the Wiener Festwochen with Berg’s Wozzeck and recordings with esteemed artists such as Janine Jansen and Isabelle Faust. Since 2011, Daniel Harding has been Conductor Laureate of the MCO.
At the Lucerne Festival, where the Mahler Chamber Orchestra appears as the core of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and can be heard in its own concert every year, some of the most memorable MCO concerts – featuring world premieres and performances of oratorios – were led by Daniel Harding. Some of these highlights include: the world premieres of Matthias Pintscher’s Transir for Flute and Chamber Orchestra with Emmanuel Pahud (2006) and Wolfgang Rihm’s Horn Concerto with Stefan Dohr (2014), as well as performances of Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri (2009), Mendelssohn’s Elias (2010) and Schubert’s Mass no. 6 (2012).
In March 2019, Daniel Harding and the MCO embark on an extensive tour that brings them to Adelaide, where the MCO is orchestra in residence at the Adelaide Festival; to Tokyo; and to Shanghai. In addition to performing an all-Mozart programme of the three final Mozart symphonies, the MCO will also present a programme pairing early symphonies of Schubert and Bruckner.
Born in Oxford, Daniel Harding began his career assisting Sir Simon Rattle at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, with which he made his professional debut in 1994. He went on to assist Claudio Abbado at the Berliner Philharmoniker and made his debut with the orchestra at the 1996 Berlin Festival.
He is the Music and Artistic Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He was Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris from 2016–19 and Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra from 2007–17. He is honoured with the lifetime title of Conductor Laureate of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. In 2018, Daniel was named Artistic Director of the Anima Mundi Festival.
He is a regular visitor to the Wiener Philharmoniker, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic and the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala. In 2005 he opened the season at La Scala, Milan, conducting a new production of Idomeneo. He returned in 2007 for Salome, in 2008 for a double bill of Bluebeard’s Castle and Il Prigioniero, in 2011 for Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci, for which he was awarded the prestigious Premio della Critica Musicale “Franco Abbiati”, in 2013 for Falstaff, and most recently in 2018 for Fierrabras. He also conducted Ariadne auf Naxos, Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro at the Salzburg Festival with the Wiener Philharmoniker; The Turn of the Screw and Wozzeck at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich, Die Zauberflöte at the Wiener Festwochen and Wozzeck at the Theater an der Wien. Closely associated with the Aix-en-Provence Festival, he has conducted new productions of Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni, The Turn of the Screw, La Traviata, Eugene Onegin and Le nozze di Figaro.
His recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, Mahler Symphony No. 10 with the Wiener Philharmoniker, and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra both received widespread critical acclaim. For Virgin/EMI he has recorded Mahler Symphony no. 4 with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Brahms’ Symphonies nos. 3 & 4 with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen; Billy Budd with the London Symphony Orchestra (winner of a Grammy Award for best opera recording), Don Giovanni and The Turn of the Screw (awarded the “Choc de l'Année 2002”, the “Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros” and a Gramophone award) with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra; works by Lutosławski with Solveig Kringelborn and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and works by Britten with Ian Bostridge and the Britten Sinfonia (awarded the "Choc de L'Annee 1998”). A regular collaborator with Harmonia Mundi, his latest recordings: ‘The Wagner Project’ with Matthias Goerne; and Mahler Symphony no. 9, recorded with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, were a huge critical success.
In 2002 Daniel was awarded the title Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government and in 2017 nominated to the position Officier Arts et Lettres. In 2012, he was elected a member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Music. He is a qualified airline pilot.