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Daniel Harding Biography

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Daniel Harding In-depth Biography

Daniel Harding rocketed to the ranks of international star conductors} at an astonishingly young age, conducting} the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra} before he was twenty-one years old.

His musical education started with recorder classes as a schoolboy, then violin lessons. He chose trumpet as his instrument. When he was fourteen Harding decided he wanted to be a conductor}. The next year he had the idea of conducting} Schoenberg}'s Pierrot Lunaire} with his school orchestra}.

Harding wrote to Simon Rattle}, the conductor} of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra}. Rattle}, who himself had great success at an early age, says that when he saw the letter he thought Harding was "crazy."

Nevertheless, when he came to see for himself Rattle} was impressed. He took Harding as a student when the latter was sixteen old. At the age of seventeen, Harding became Rattle}'s assistant. This resulted in Harding making his professional conducting} debut in 1994 with the CBSO}. This appearance won the Royal Philharmonic Society}'s "Best Debut" Award for the 1993-1994 season.

Harding was hired at the age of eighteen by Hans Werner Henze} to participate in the preparations for the Munich Biennial Festival. During the same year, Pierre Boulez} accepted Harding into his master class.

At the age of nineteen he participated in a performance of Stockhausen}'s Gruppen}, a work requiring three conductors}, at the "Towards the Millennium" Festival. Rattle} and John Carewe} were the other conductors}.

Claudio Abbado} engaged Harding as assistant conductor} of the Berlin Philharmonic} for the 1995-1996 season. By now he was also receiving opportunities to guest conduct}. Among his appearances was a Bartók} and Sibelius} program with violinist Sarah Chang} at the Rotterdam Philharmonic}.

During the September 1996 Berlin Festival, Harding received a quintessential lucky break when conductor} Franz Welser-Möst} fell ill and could not conduct}. Without an orchestra}l rehearsal, he took over the podium in a program of Berlioz}'s Corsair Overture}, Brahms}' Double Concerto}, and Dvorak}'s Symphony No. 8 in G major.

The critic of the Berlin Zeitung said that after a momentary sense of nervousness at the start of the concert, Harding led the overture} with verve and authority. She praised Harding's alert and sympathetic accompanying} of the two soloists in the concerto}, and his grasp and elucidation of an over-all line in the symphony} while still attentive to the work's details.

In 1996 Harding also became the youngest conductor} ever to give a concert in the BBC Proms. In 1997 he became Principal Conductor} of the Trondheim (Norway) Symphony Orchestra}. He also was guest conductor} of the Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra} in Sweden and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra}. In Autumn 1999, he took up the position of Music Director} of the Deutsche Kammerephilharmonie}.

By then he had already guest conducted} widely, appearing with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Rome}, The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra}, the Los Angeles Philharmonic}, the Houston Symphony}, the London Philharmonic}, and the London Symphony}. He has also conducted} opera}, leading Janacek}'s Jenufa} (Welsh National Opera}) and Mozart}'s Don Giovanni} (with a touring company featuring the Mahler Chamber Orchstra}). His Royal Opera House debut was scheduled to be in Britten}'s Turn of the Screw}.

He had something of a dream come true when, in 1998, he returned to the BBC Proms to conduct} the Scharoun Ensemble} (whose members are drawn from the Berlin Philharmonic}) in Pierrot Lunaire}.

He has signed an exclusive contract with Virgin Records. His first release was music of Schoenberg} and Britten}, and with the Kammerphilharmonie} has recorded a program of Beethoven} overtures}. ~ Joseph Stevenson, All Music Guide

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