Edward Gardner, music director of English National Opera, has been appointed principal guest conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The 35 year-old will take up the baton in September 2011, conducting three to four weeks of concerts each season until 2014.
Gardner has been a regular with the Birmingham ensemble since 2004, after making his debut with an all-Mozart programme. At that time, he'd just finished a three-year stint as Sir Mark Elder's assistant at the Hallé; since then he's been credited with helping turn round the fortunes of the previously ailing English National Opera. Gardner will join Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons at the CBSO – the 31 year-old has been at the helm for the past two years, earning warm reviews.
'Growing up as I did in Gloucester, the first orchestra I heard was the CBSO who performed regularly at the Cheltenham Town Hall,' says Gardner. 'It's wonderful now to have this relationship.'