You’ve had particularly long relationships with the Swedish Radio Symphony and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. What makes those relationships so special?

Daniel Harding Daniel Harding. Photo © Julian Hargreaves

Although they’re different organisations, there’s a very similar spirit in the groups. All of us look for the orchestras where, very simply, you feel most at home, where it’s just about making music. I first went to Swedish Radio 14 years ago and the MCO would be 21 years ago. The relationships have lasted because it’s always been good and fun, and it’s never gone off the rails. With the conductor-orchestra relationship, very often there’s a moment where one says, “that’s been great but that’s enough”. That’s healthy and fine, but there is also a point where you know each other inside out, and at that point the relationship will probably last a lifetime.

You acquired the ‘boy wonder’ tag early in your career. Now you’re in your 40s, how do you look back on some of the things you did when you were young?

I had a funny journey in that I was given the opportunity to conduct very important orchestras very early, but at...