Daniel Harding conducts “Also sprach Zarathustra”

Daniel Harding (photo: Julian Hargreaves)

This concert conducted by Daniel Harding is pervaded with the themes of “light” and “nature”. For example, Richard Strauss begins his Also sprach Zarathustra with the most famous sunrise of musical history, then depicts with extravagant sounds the struggle of the individual against narrow-mindedness and mediocrity. The Korean composer Unsuk Chin, on the other hand, sets the behaviour of light rays to music in her iridescent Rocaná. Ralph Vaughan Williams’s song cycle On Wenlock Edge, with Andrew Staples as soloist, creates vivid tonal images in which the melancholy of the protagonist is reflected by English landscape scenes.

Berliner Philharmoniker

Daniel Harding conductor

Andrew Staples tenor

Unsuk Chin


Ralph Vaughan Williams

On Wenlock Edge, 6 Songs for tenor, piano und string quartet

Andrew Staples tenor

Richard Strauss

Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus spoke Zarathustra), op. 30

Dates and Tickets


Daniel Harding

Daniel Harding is in it for the long haul: he has been the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s chief conductor since 2007. “It’s very rewarding”, he contends, “to build something up slowly.” The English conductor, who in 2018 was named artistic director of the Anima Mundi Festival in Pisa, also works with such prominent international orchestras as the Berliner and Wiener Philharmoniker, the Dresden Staatskapelle and the Royal Concertgebouw as well as the leading US ensembles. Harding created a sensation at the beginning of his career as Simon Rattle’s assistant with the City of Birmingham Orchestra. He subsequently became Claudio Abbado’s assistant at the Berliner Philharmoniker, first ascending its podium in 1996. That year he also made his BBC Proms debut as the youngest conductor in the festival’s history. By the time he was 30, Daniel Harding had conducted all the leading orchestras in the world. In 2011, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra named him conductor laureate for life, but Harding, currently conductor-in-residence of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, has yet another passion: since 2018 he has been an Airbus A-320 pilot for Air France. Making music and flying a plane are evidently complementary for him: “When I learned to fly, I wanted to give myself the gift of learning something new ... I wanted to find something where I could express the other bits of my brain.”

Andrew Staples

The English tenor Andrew Staples is equally celebrated in concert and opera. His voice, wrote one critic, “has such tone and power, unlocking the hidden meaning in the words.” He is also a successful director of stage productions as well as of livestreams and music films in which he is able to capture on screen the special atmosphere of a live event. Staples studied at King’s College, Cambridge, and at the Royal College of Music’s Benjamin Britten International Opera School in London. He has sung, among other roles, Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème, at houses including the Royal Opera in London, the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brusssels and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Staples also appeared as Tamino at the Lucerne and Drottningholm festivals in his own staging of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, conducted by Daniel Harding. On the concert platform, he has performed with leading international orchestras under conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Daniel Harding and Yannick Nézet-Séguin in a repertoire ranging from English Baroque to modern music. He made his Berliner Philharmoniker debut in 2009. The singer has also attracted much attention with his project “Opera for Change”, which is centred on a production of Die Zauberflöte  that has already been performed in ten countries from Nairobi to Cape Town by an international ensemble collaborating with local artists.

Andrew Staples (photo: privat)