The Orchestra and Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia has announced that its next music director will be Daniel Harding, who will take the role from October 2024 for an initial five-year term.


Harding will succeed Sir Antonio Pappano, who has served as Santa Cecilia's music director from 2005 to 2023, and will take the role of director emeritus.

One of the oldest musical institutions in the world, the Rome-based Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia boasts a long line of prestigious principal conductors and music directors, including Igor Markevitch, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Daniele Gatti and Myung Whun Chung.

As has long been the tradition at Santa Cecilia, Harding will open his first season with an opera-in concert: in this case, a run of performances of Puccini’s Tosca, to mark the centenary of the composer's death. The new music director's first season will also feature performances of Verdi’s Requiem in one of Rome’s great basilicas.

Daniel Harding is new music director at Santa Cecilia
Daniel Harding performing with the Santa Cecilia orchestra in 2016

Harding will also develop further the symphonic output of the orchestra, focusing on masterworks of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including Strauss, the Viennese school, Wagner and many others. He will also present the full cycle of Mahler symphonies. The first season will also include the performance Suk’s Asrael Symphony, a rare masterpiece.

In related news, Deutsche Grammophon is announcing a new partnership with Daniel Harding and Santa Cecilia. The partnership will feature recordings of the inaugural performances, in particular Puccini’s Tosca in the composer’s anniversary year, with future audio and audiovisual plans announced at a later date.

'The Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia is an orchestra and chorus of extraordinary warmth and generosity, who love to tell stories and transmit their enthusiasm for the music they’re playing,' says Harding. 'Over the 25 years of working together with the orchestra we have explored a wide range of repertoire and forged a friendship that now becomes something very significant for all of us.

'It is a beautiful gift to be given the chance to become music director of a world class orchestra of such ambition in a city of incomparable historical and cultural significance.'

Daniel Harding is also the current music and artistic director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, a position he will relinquish in 2025 after 19 seasons. He also served as music director of the Orchestre de Paris from 2016 to 2019, and as principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. Harding has also been made a lifetime conductor laureate of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, with whom he has worked for over two decades.


Elsewhere, Harding has worked and toured with many of the best orchestras in the world. He has worked with the Berlin Philharmonic for over 25 years, and the Wiener Philharmoniker, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra for 20 years. In the United States he works with many of the great orchestras, including The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony.

Last month, as we reported, Daniel Harding was appointed music director of Youth Music Culture Greater Bay Area in China, where he and a team of members of the great orchestras of Europe and the United States will work with talented young orchestral musicians from all over China.


Steve Wright
Steve WrightMulti-Platform Content Producer, BBC Music Magazine

Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.