The British conductor Daniel Harding has been appointed music director of Youth Music Culture the Greater Bay Area, an organization in Guangzhou, southern China, combining concerts, teaching and community outreach. He succeeds the American cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who was YMCG's music director until last year.


Harding, who begins his five-year term in 2024, will work alongside the organisation's chairman Long Yu to develop its symphonic programme. He plans to invite principal musicians from top international orchestras as tutors, mentors and chamber musicians, and to develop the overall programme, welcoming speakers and partners from outside the classical music world.

Currently music and artistic director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Harding has served as music director of the Orchestre de Paris (2016–19) and principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (2007–17). He also holds the lifetime title of conductor laureate of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, with whom he has worked for more than 20 years.

Renamed Youth Music Culture the Greater Bay Area in 2023, YMCG aims to unite the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra and Macao Orchestra with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra and Xinghai Concert Hall, strengthening ties in culture and the arts among the four major cities in the Greater Bay Area, namely Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macao.

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Photo of Daniel Harding: Julian Hargreaves


Hannah Nepilova is a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine. She has also written for The Financial Times, The Times, The Strad, Gramophone, Opera Now, Opera, the BBC Proms and the Philharmonia, and runs The Cusp, an online magazine exploring the boundaries between art forms. Born to Czech parents, she has a strong interest in Czech music and culture.