John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Vespers



On the eve of his 19th performance of Claudio Monteverdi‘s Vespers of 1610, British conductor John Eliot Gardiner recounts for Tom Service of The Guardian how he came to first direct the work during his student days at Cambridge University.

The chance came when I went to Cambridge. I still wasn’t sure at that stage about which direction my life would take. I was reading history and I had a strong connection with the Middle East. Fortunately, I had a sympathetic tutor in Edmund Leach, the social anthropologist, and he allowed me to take a year off to find out once and for all if I was going to be a musician. So I decided, as a test, to mount and conduct a performance of the Vespers in King’s College Chapel.

Gardiner’s 19th performance will take place at the Royal Albert Hall on the 2010 BBC Proms.

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