Sir John Eliot Gardiner Named Principal Guest Conductor Emeritus of Philharmonia Orchestra

By Francisco Salazar

The Philharmonia Orchestra has announced the appointment of Sir John Eliot Gardiner as Principal Guest Conductor Emeritus from the 2023-24 season.

The orchestra noted that the relationship with Gardiner reignited during the COVID lockdowns with a streamed performance of Elgar’s Enigma Variations. The conductor also performed with the orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. The recent successes moved the musicians of the Philharmonia to create a more formal relationship by bestowing the unprecedented title of Principal Guest Conductor Emeritus.

In a statement, Gardiner said, “I’m greatly honored to accept this title which the Philharmonia have conferred on me. Re-establishing contact 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 renew and 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.”

The conductor 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 programs per season and further tours, allowing the development of his own programmatic ideas, including the introduction of new repertoire.