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John Eliot Gardiner
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John Eliot Gardiner

John Eliot Gardiner (born April 20, 1943, Fontmell, Dorset, England) is a prominent British conductor famous for his performances of Baroque music on early instruments.

Gardiner took up the baton at age fifteen. As an undergraduate at Cambridge University he studied music and founded the Monteverdi Choir in 1964. After graduating, he studied with Thurston Dart in London and with Nadia Boulanger in Paris.

From 1960 to 1980 he was lead conductor of Canada's CBC Radio Orchestra.

In 1968, Gardiner formed the Monteverdi Orchestra. Some ten years later, the English Baroque Soloists — formed from members of the Monteverdi Orchestra ­— made their debut at the 1977 Innsbruck Festival of Early Music performing Handel's Acis and Galatea on period instruments.

John Eliot Gardiner made his London opera debut with Die Zauberflöte; in 1969 at the English National Opera, and he first appeared at Covent Garden in 1973 conducting Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride;.

His American debut came in 1979 when he conducted the Dallas Symphony.

In 1990, he formed a new period instrument orchestra to perform Classical and Romantic music, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique;.

As guest conductor, Gardiner has appeared with some of the great orchestras of the world, including the Philharmonia, Boston, Cleveland, Royal Concertgebouw and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras. He has made over two-hundred and fity recordings of music from Monteverdi to Benjamin Britten, covering not only early music and the baroque, for which he is most renowned, but also a wide range of classical and romantic music including all nine of Beethoven's symphonies, Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust, and Verdi's Falstaff.

Upon the occasion of the Monteverdi Choir's 25th anniversary in 1989, Gardiner toured the world with it giving performances of Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610.

John Eliot Gardiner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998.

In his spare time, Gardiner runs an organic farm in North Dorset.

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