One of the great advocates of period-instrument performance, Gardiner’s interpretations have revitalised many people’s appreciation of the great choral and symphonic repertoire. He founded the Monteverdi Choir in 1966 and followed it in 1978 with the English Baroque Soloists (and later, in 1990, with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique). His recordings have been hugely successful and in 2000 he toured (and recorded) all of Bach’s sacred cantatas. He has received more Gramophone Awards than any other living artist. He conducts a broad repertoire, often with orchestras other than his own, and has a great reputation in French repertoire (particularly Berlioz) of which he has recorded much.
Gardiner: a tribute by Robert Levin
'Sir John Eliot Gardiner has brought deep insight, vitality, flair and visionary commitment to an impressively broad range of repertoire. Working with him is a privilege and a delight, in which aspiration to the highest level of drama and emotional communication is at the forefront. Whether at the helm of his own Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists or the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, or on the podium with leading opera companies and symphony orchestras around the world, his advocacy fuses intellectual rigour and incandescent imagination.'
Sir John Eliot Gardiner – Interview (Gramophone, October 2008) by Peter Quantrill