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Sir John Eliot Gardiner

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Gardiner was educated at Bryanston School, and studied history and Arabic as an undergraduate at King’s College, Cambridge. Gardiner began to learn conducting at the age of 15, later he toured the Middle East conducting the Oxford and Cambridge Singers. After graduating from King’s College, Cambridge, he studied at King’s College London under Thurston Dart, and with the French music professor Nadia Boulanger.

During his time in Cambridge he founded, in 1964, his first musical ensemble, the Monteverdi Choir. With the Monteverdi Choir he made his conducting debut at the Wigmore Hall in London in 1966.

He formed the Monteverdi Orchestra in 1968, who played on modern instruments, but after changing to period instruments in 1977 they became known as the English Baroque Soloists. In 1969 Gardiner made his debut in the opera house with a performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the English National Opera. Four years later, in 1973, he first appeared at Covent Garden conducting Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride. The English Baroque Soloists made their debut with him in the 1977 Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, performing Handel’s Acis and Galatea on period instruments. His American debut came in 1979 when he conducted the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He then became the lead conductor of Canada’s CBC Vancouver Orchestra from 1980 to 1983.[1]

After his period with the CBC Vancouver Orchestra, Gardiner went to France. From 1983 to 1988 he was Music Director of the Opéra National de Lyon. During his period with the Opéra he founded an entirely new orchestra.[2] During his time with the Opéra National de Lyon Gardiner was also Artistic Director of the Göttingen Handel Festival (1981 until 1990).

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