Daniele Gatti is an Italian conductor who has generally been associated with opera. That said, his discography would suggest a preference for symphonic music, with acclaimed recordings of Tchaikovsky and Mahler symphonies, prominent on the list. Indeed, and throughout most of his career he has evenly balanced opera and symphonic activity, regularly appearing in the leading opera houses like Covent Garden, La Scala, the Met, and Vienna State Opera, and conducting the major orchestras in Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Vienna, and London, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the ensemble he has led as principal conductor since 1996. Gatti's choice of repertory in opera has favored the classic Italian operas, but is inclusive of most periods. In the symphonic realm, he has divulged a penchant for the post-Romantic era and early twentieth century, favoring the aforementioned Tchaikovsky and Mahler, as well as Bartók, Prokofiev, and Respighi. Gatti has recorded for several labels, including Harmonia Mundi, Conifer, and RCA.
Daniele Gatti was born in Milan on November 6, 1961. His first advanced studies were at the Milan Conservatory and his official debut also came in his hometown, when he led a performance of Verdi's Giovanna d'Arco in 1982. Over the next few years he appeared at the smaller opera houses in Italy. Once again it was Milan that offered him a breakthrough: in 1988 he debuted at La Scala in a critically acclaimed performance of Rossini's L'occasione fa il ladro.
Gatti's debut on the American opera scene came in 1991 at the Chicago Lyric Opera, when he led a performance of Madama Butterfly. Other important operatic debuts followed shortly, including at Covent Garden (1992) and the Metropolitan Opera (1994).
But by the 1990s Gatti was branching out into symphonic music, too: in 1994 he guest-conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, an auspicious event that led to his appointment as principal conductor there two years later. In 1997 Gatti accepted a second prestigious post, this as music director of the Teatro Comunale, Bologna. By about this time his earliest recordings were drawing international attention. Gatti's 1998 Mahler Symphony No. 5 on Conifer, and 1999 Romeo and Juliet (Prokofiev [excerpts] and Tchaikovsky) on RCA, both with the RPO, were widely acclaimed releases. In the new century Gatti has led the RPO with general success. He has also accepted an appointment as music director of L'Orchestre National de France (2009).