Daniele Gatti is starting his first season as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s chief conductor. The Italian maestro made his first appearance with the orchestra back in 2004. He says, ‘I think there was a strong bond right from the start, a bond which has grown year after year and eventually led to my appointment.’
Gatti continues, ‘With an orchestra of such calibre and historical significance, I think it’s important to be mindful of its legacy. What’s more important is that every chief conductor should leave his own mark on the orchestra’s core repertoire: Mahler, Bruckner, Strauss and Brahms. I hope to be able to further enhance the bouquet of interpretations which my predecessors have created. I’m just the next link in the chain.’
‘I’d also really like to work with the orchestra on other aspects of the symphonic repertoire, particularly French music and the Second Viennese School, which has strong connections with Mahler. In terms of French music, I’m bringing my own legacy along with me. My experiences in Paris have helped me penetrate the very soul of French music. But I look forward to rediscovering it with the Concertgebouw Orchestra and developing a new vision of the repertoire together.’
The new chief’s arrival coincides with the start of the orchestra’s RCO meets Europe tour of all the EU member states. Gatti is very excited about it. When asked whether he feels himself to be a European, a resounding yes is his answer. ‘We Italians are perhaps more open, others more reserved. But once you’ve penetrated the heart, all hearts and souls respond the same way. After all, music itself has no borders.’
Gatti will also be lending a helping hand to young conductors as part of an annual masterclass in Amsterdam. ‘I’m really looking forward to this. Imparting my knowledge and experience to young people is the best and most generous thing I can do. What I myself have learned over the last forty years is that the most important thing is to listen during rehearsals – to your inner ear and, at the same time, to what the musicians are giving you. At that moment, the conductor and the orchestra enter into a partnership together.’
Born in Milan, Daniele Gatti studied piano and graduated in composition and conducting at the city's Verdi Conservatory. He is chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra with effect from the 2016/17 season.
Between 2008 and 2016, he was the music director of the Orchestre National de France. Prior to this, Daniele Gatti was music director of the Royal Philharmonic (1996–2009), principal conductor of the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome (1992–97), principal guest conductor at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (1994–97), music director of the Teatro Comunale in Bologna (1997–2007), and principal conductor at the Zurich Opera House (2009-2012). In 2016 he was appointed artistic adviser of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
As a guest conductor, Daniele Gatti regularly leads the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Munich Philharmonic, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala.
He has conducted many new productions at leading opera houses all over the world and has close ties with the Teatro alla Scala in Milan and the Viennese Staatsoper. Maestro Gatti is one of the few Italian conductors ever invited to the Festival of Bayreuth, where he conducted Wagner's Parsifal in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. At the Metropolitan Opera in New York he made his debut in a production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly in 2004, and returned in 2013 for an acclaimed new production of Parsifal, the DVD of which was released in spring 2014.
Since his overwhelming debut in April 2004, Daniele Gatti was a very regular guest with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. During his first seasons as chief conductor he plays an important part in the RCO meets Europe tour programme.
Daniele Gatti is Grande Ufficiale al Merito della Repubblica Italiana and Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres de la République Française, and was awarded the prestigious Franco Abbiati Prize in both 2005 and 2016. In July 2016, the French Republic named him Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur.