John Eliot Gardiner to return to podium in 2024

Florence Lockheart
Thursday, February 8, 2024

The conductor’s 'period of reflection' following allegations of physical assault in August 2023 will end ‘later in the year’

© Chris Christodoulou
© Chris Christodoulou

The Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras has today released a statement confirming that conductor John Eliot Gardiner will make his return to the concert platform ‘later in the year’. Gardiner’s return follows his career break and ‘period of reflection’ after allegations that he physically assaulted bass William Thomas  during a performance at the Berlioz Festival last summer.

Gardiner announced in August 2023 that he would step down from future performances leaving assistant conductor Dinis Sousa to lead the orchestra’s autumn programme, making his BBC Proms debut in September 2023. Sousa will conduct the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and the Monteverdi Choir in May 2024, while the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists’ upcoming tour of Handel’s Israel in Egypt will be conducted by Peter Whelan.

In a statement released today the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras said: ‘In an agreement between the board and management of the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras and Sir John Eliot Gardiner, we can confirm that John Eliot has decided to extend his time away from public music-making, and it is our shared aim that he will be in a position to return to conduct the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras later in the year. It is a deserved tribute to John Eliot’s lifetime’s work that the Monteverdi Choir were last week awarded Best Choir at the Oper! Awards 2024.'

Sir John Eliot Gardiner added: ‘As announced by the board and management of the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras today, I am extending my time away from public music-making until later in the year in the wake of last August’s incident - something for which I have accepted full responsibility and profoundly regret. In the meantime, I am proud of the members of the three Monteverdi ensembles and management for bringing to fruition the concerts that were planned between August and now, and I wish to thank Peter Whelan and Dinis Sousa for taking over the forthcoming projects which mark the start of a year celebrating the Choir’s 60th birthday.’