Sir John Eliot Gardiner

Principal Guest Conductor Emeritus
From September 2023

Sir John Eliot Gardiner bust shot

The Philharmonia Orchestra announced the appointment of Sir John Eliot Gardiner as Principal Guest Conductor Emeritus from the 2023/24 season, in the week of his 80th birthday in spring 2023.

Following a gap of 23 years, the Orchestra was thrilled to reignite its relationship with Sir John Eliot Gardiner during the Covid lockdowns with a streamed performance of Elgar’s Enigma Variations. This was followed by a live concert at the Royal Festival Hall, acclaimed for the exceptional rapport between conductor and Orchestra. These successes moved the musicians of the Philharmonia to appoint Gardiner to this specially-created role.

Sir John Eliot Gardiner is an international leader in today’s musical life. Regarded as one of the world’s most respected and boundary redefining musicians, he is consistently at the forefront of vivid and enlightened interpretation, working regularly with the world’s foremost orchestras. Gardiner’s work as Artistic Director of his Monteverdi Choir & Orchestra, English Baroque Soloists and Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique has marked him out as a pioneer of historically informed performance. He regularly guest conducts leading orchestras such as the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Berliner Philharmoniker. His many hundreds of recordings are a testimony to the extraordinary range and breadth of his artistry.

Sir John Eliot Gardiner said: “Working with this magnificent Orchestra feels like a wonderful homecoming. It’s been a delight to re-encounter the translucent warmth of the legendary Philharmonia string sound, to rediscover and admire the individual character and musicality of their woodwind principals and the burnished sonority of their brass section. I am excited by this opportunity to deepen my fruitful association with this flexible and open-minded body of musicians, and the chance it gives to cement the links with them by developing fresh ways to explore both familiar and unchartered areas of the symphonic repertoire.”

Sir John Eliot will begin his tenure with one concert and an international tour in the 2023/24 season; the following three seasons will then see the relationship deepen, with three RFH programmes per season and further tours, allowing the development of his own programmatic ideas, including the introduction of new repertoire.

Kira Doherty, President and Second Horn said: ‘It’s a huge pleasure and honour to welcome Sir John Eliot Gardiner back to the Philharmonia in the new role of Principal Guest Conductor Emeritus. Not only is Gardiner one of the most eminent and celebrated conductors of his time, he is also a passionate and vocal advocate for the arts. A man of towering talent and unshakable musical conviction, we look forward immensely to working together and building an artistic vision that will see the Orchestra pushed to new musical heights.”