Conductor Daniel Harding was a prodigy, earning worldwide renown while still in his teens. His early record of success continues in adulthood, with major conducting positions and a large catalog of recordings.
Harding was born in Oxford on August 31, 1975. Taking recorder lessons as a child, he attended Chetham's School of Music as a trumpeter and joined Britain's National Youth Orchestra at 13. The following year, Harding set his sights on a career as a conductor. He assembled an orchestra from among his fellow students, and when he was 17, he conducted them in Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, not a simple score for a conductor. The performance went off well, and Harding brashly sent a tape to famed conductor Simon Rattle. Although at first, by his own testimony, Rattle thought Harding was crazy, but went to see a performance by the ambitious youngster and was favorably impressed. Harding became Rattle's assistant at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and made his debut in 1994 with that orchestra. Word got around about the precocious conductor's talents. He was hired by composer Hans Werner Henze to assist with preparations for the Munich Biennial Festival, and he took a conducting master class with Pierre Boulez.
Harding has recorded prolifically with almost all of the orchestras with which he has been associated, issuing albums on Virgin, EMI, Harmonia Mundi, and other major labels. In 2020, he led the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in performances of Schoenberg's Violin Concerto and Verklärte Nacht, featuring violinist Isabelle Faust. In addition to his busy conducting schedule, Harding maintains his status as a licensed airline pilot.