John Eliot Gardiner

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About John Eliot Gardiner

John Eliot Gardiner is admired both for the scrupulous preparation and the visceral immediacy of his performances. The exacting choral director is a musician equally at home in the world of historical performance practice and conducting orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra or Vienna Philharmonic. He's also very much a man of the theatre and was music director of Opéra Nationale de Lyon between 1983 and 1988. He was born in 1943 in Fontmell Magna, Dorset, and while studying history at Cambridge University conducted a performance of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 that sealed his fate when he was persuaded to pursue music professionally. Studies with the redoubtable Nadia Boulanger in Paris honed the forensic skills that have encouraged the formidable precision he demands of singers and instrumentalists alike. To realise his ideas, he founded the Monteverdi Choir; later, the English Baroque Soloists; and, last of all, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique for 19th-century repertoire. And these have formed the nucleus for many major projects such as the year-long Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000, or 2017’s Monteverdi opera tour marking the 450th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Gardiner’s tastes are eclectic—incorporating Schütz and Spanish polyphony, Percy Grainger and Kurt Weill—and are served by a sense of adventure, penetrating insight and blazing conviction.

Springhead, Dorset, England
20 April 1943
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