Noseda was born in Milan on April 23, 1964. He first studied piano, then later focused on composition and conducting. His teachers included Valery Gergiev, Myung-Whun Chung, and Donato Renzetti. In 1994, Noseda won two prestigious conducting competitions, the first in Douai, France, and the latter in Cadaques, Spain. Following his win in Cadaques, he was named the principal conductor of the Cadaqués Orchestra. His official debut followed shortly when he led the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi. With this ensemble, he made his first recording (1995), a disc of Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez, and other guitar works with soloist Emanuele Segre for the Claves label.
In 1997, upon the initiative of Gergiev, Noseda was made principal guest conductor at the Mariinsky Theater, the first foreigner to be given this honor. In 2002, Noseda made his debut at the Met conducting Prokofiev's War and Peace and was appointed principal conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. He held this position until 2006, when his title was changed to chief conductor, a post he held until 2011. That year he was named the principal guest conductor of the Israel Philharmonic.
In the late 2000s and early 2010s, Noseda emerged as one of the top operatic conductors on the British scene and beyond, with muscular, often hyper-dramatic interpretations that drew audiences. His work was amply captured on recordings, with a video of Gounod's Faust appearing in 2016, with the Orchestra e Coro Teatro Regio Torino, and one of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers at the Met in 2017. Noseda made a series of high-profile appearances conducting vocal recitals by four of the world's top singers: Ildebrando d'Arcangelo, Rolando Villazón, Anna Netrebko, and Diana Damrau. In 2016, Noseda was named the principal guest conductor of the London Symphony, and the following year, he was named music director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. In 2018, he was named the general music director of the Zurich Opera House, beginning with the 2021-2022 season.