Born in Oxford, Daniel Harding began his career assisting Sir Simon Rattle at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, with which he made his professional debut in 1994. He went on to assist Claudio Abbado at the Berlin Philharmonic and made his debut with the orchestra at the 1996 Berlin Festival.
He is Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and Music Partner of the New Japan Philharmonic. He is Artistic Director of the Ohga Hall in Karuizawa, Japan and was recently honoured with the lifetime title of Conductor Laureate of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. His previous positions include Principal Conductor and Music Director of the MCO (2003-2011), Principal Conductor of the Trondheim Symphony (1997-2000), Principal Guest Conductor of Sweden's Norrköping Symphony (1997-2003) and Music Director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (1997-2003).
He is a regular visitor to the Vienna Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle (both of which he has conducted at the Salzburg Festival), Royal Concertgebouw, the Bavarian Radio, Leipzig Gewandhaus and the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala. Other guest conducting engagements have included the Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Lyon, Oslo Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Rome, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Orchestras and the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées. Among the American orchestras with whom he has performed are the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
In 2005 he opened the season at La Scala, Milan, conducting a new production of Idomeneo. He returned in 2007 for Salome, in 2008 for a double bill of Bluebeard’s Castle and Il Prigioniero, and most recently in 2011 for Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci, for which he was awarded the prestigious Premio della Critica Musicale “Franco Abbiati”. His operatic experience also includes Ariadne auf Naxos, Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro at the Salzburg Festival with the Vienna Philharmonic, The Turn of the Screw and Wozzeck at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich, Die Zauberflöte at the Wiener Festwochen and Wozzeck at the Theater an der Wien. Closely associated with the Aix-en-Provence Festival, he has conducted new productions there of Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni, The Turn of the Screw, La Traviata, Eugene Onegin and Le nozze di Figaro. In the 2012/13 season he returned to la Scala for Falstaff and made his debuts at both the Deutsche Staatsoper, Berlin and at the Wiener Staatsoper with Der Fliegende Holländer.
His recent recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, Mahler Symphony No. 10 with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra have both won widespread critical acclaim. Previously an exclusive Virgin/EMI recording artist, his recordings include Mahler Symphony No. 4 with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Brahms’ Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4 with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen; Billy Budd with the London Symphony Orchestra (winner of a Grammy Award for best opera recording), Don Giovanni and The Turn of the Screw (awarded the “Choc de l'Année 2002”, the “Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros” and a Gramophone award) both with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra; works by Lutosławski with Solveig Kringelborn and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and works by Britten with Ian Bostridge and the Britten Sinfonia (awarded the "Choc de L'Annee 1998”).
In 2002 he was awarded the title Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government and in 2012 he was elected a member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Music.