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Spring 2022 Cultural Program
University of Michigan Students attended a lecture on
Ludwig Von Beethoven's life and art offered by
Professor Christopher Harding
followed by a performance of his Ninth Symphony
by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jader Bignamini.
Harding PHOTO.jpeg
Christopher Harding

Professor & Chair of Piano
School of Music, Theater & Dance
University of Michigan 

In addition to his academic work, Professor Harding maintains a flourishing international performance career, generating acclaim and impressing audiences and critics alike with his substantive interpretations and pianistic mastery. He has given frequent solo, concerto, and chamber music performances in premier venues around the world. His collaborations have included internationally renowned artists such as clarinetist Karl Leister, flautist Andras Adorjan, and members of the St. Lawrence and Ying String Quartets, in addition to frequent projects with his distinguished faculty colleagues at the University of Michigan. ​​


He has recorded solo and chamber music CDs for the Equilibrium and Brevard Classics labels. He has edited and published critical editions and recordings of works by Claude Debussy and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for the Schirmer Performance Editions published by Hal Leonard.

Professor Harding has presented master classes and lecture recitals in universities throughout the US and around the world. He also serves on the faculty of the Indiana University Summer Piano Academy, and is a frequent guest artist and teacher at the MasterWorks Festival in Winona Lake, Indiana, among many others.

Harding was born of American parents in Munich, Germany, and raised in Northern Virginia. His collegiate studies were with Menahem Pressler and Nelita True. He has taken 25 first prizes in national and international competitions and in 1999 was awarded the special “Mozart Prize” at the Cleveland International Piano Competition, given for the best performance of a composition by Mozart. His current recording projects include the Brahms viola/clarinet sonatas and the clarinet trio, with clarinetist Dan Gilbert, violist Stephen Boe, and cellist Yeonjin Kim. Visit Professor Harding's website to listen to some of his recordings. 

Jader Bignamini

Jader Bignamini was introduced as the 18th music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in January 2020.

A native of Crema, Italy, Jader studied at the Piacenza Music Conservatory and began his career as a musician (clarinet) with Orchestra Sinfonica La Verdi in Milan, later serving as the group’s resident conductor. He conducted his first professional concert at the age of 28. In the years since, Jader has conducted some of the world’s most acclaimed orchestras and opera companies in venues across the globe.

When Jader leads an orchestra in symphonic repertoire, he conducts without a score, preferring to make direct eye contact with the musicians. He conducts from the heart, forging a profound connection with his musicians that shines through both onstage and off. He both embodies and exudes the excellence and enthusiasm that has long distinguished the DSO’s artistry.

Perhaps the most iconic piece of classical music ever written—especially its heart-swelling "Ode to Joy"—Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony celebrates brotherhood, forgiveness, and the quest for peace. Jader Bignamini conducts this masterpiece, a joy to experience in a live orchestral setting.

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