Edward Gardner OBE is an English conductor, who became principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2021.
Gardner was born in Gloucester in 1974, and was a chorister at Gloucester Cathedral. He also played the piano, clarinet and organ when he was growing up.
He studied music at Cambridge University, and was a choral scholar in the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. After that, he went to the Royal Academy of Music and graduated in 2000.
Throughout his studies, and just beyond, Gardner was music director of Wokingham Choral Society. Before he’d graduated from the Royal Academy, he had also already been a stand-in repetiteur at the prestigious Salzburg Festival. This got him noticed, and he went on to be assistant conductor of The Hallé in Manchester. In 2002 he founded the Hallé Youth Orchestra.
In 2003, Gardner was announced as the music director of Glyndebourne Touring Opera, a post he held until 2007.
Gardner was the music director of English National Opera from 2006 to 2015, and he has also regularly conducted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, including for productions of Berlioz’s ‘The Damnation of Faust’, Bizet’s ‘Carmen’, and Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’. He made his debut conducting at London’s Royal Opera House in 2019, and his debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper for their 2021/22 season.
Between 2011 and 2016, Gardner was principal guest conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Classic FM’s Orchestra in the Midlands.
He has conducted many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. He’s passionate about supporting young musicians and regularly conducts the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Classic FM’s Orchestra of Teenagers.
In October 2015 Gardner stepped up to the podium as chief conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic, and in September 2021 he became the chief conductor of London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Gardner, who has recorded prolifically on the Chandos label, was named Royal Philharmonic Society’s Conductor of the Year in 2008, and he received an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera in 2009. In 2012, he was appointed OBE for Services to Music in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.