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. 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 October 1997, upon the initiative of Gergiev, Noseda was made principal guest conductor at the Mariinsky Theater, the first foreigner to be given this honor.
Noseda's most popular recordings include the best-selling 2003 solo debut CD of soprano arias by Anna Netrebko, with the Vienna Philharmonic, on DG. Most of his symphonic recordings have been made for the Chandos label and include a complete cycle of the Liszt symphonic poems (finished in 2007), with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
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 Metropolitan Opera in 2017. The years between 2011 and 2016 saw Noseda as the conductor of vocal recitals by four of the world's top singers: Ildebrando Arcangelo, Rolando Villazón, Anna Netrebko, and Diana Damrau. Noseda has continued to conduct symphonic music and issued several recordings of the works of Italian composer Alfredo Casella. Noseda was named music director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., with the appointment beginning in the fall of 2017.