Howard Griffiths (born 24 February 1950) is a British conductor.
Griffiths was born in Hastings. He studied music at the Royal College of Music, London. He has lived in Switzerland since 1981.
Since the season 2007/08, he is General Music Director of the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester, Frankfurt. in 2013, he renewed his contract for the third time until 2018.
Howard Griffiths was Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra from 1996 to 2006 and successfully continued its long tradition of excellence in every respect. His work with the orchestra also involved extended tours of Europe, the United States and China, which were enthusiastically received by audiences and critics alike, both in Switzerland and abroad.
Howard Griffiths has appeared as a guest conductor with many leading orchestras all over the world. These include the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, the Orchestre National de France, Radio Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Basle Symphony Orchestra, the London Mozart Players, the Orquesta Nacional de España, the WDR Symphony Orchestra as well as other radio orchestras in Germany.
In addition, he regularly works with youth orchestras, being a founder of the Jugend Symphony Orchestra Zurich and a regular guest with the National Youth Orchestra of Germany as well as periods with the Swiss Youth Symphony Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of South Africa.
Howard Griffiths is always receptive to new, unconventional projects, for example for crossover projects with different orchestras and soloists like Giora Feidman, Roby Lakatos, Burhan Öçal, Abdullah Ibrahim, Maurice Steger or Igudesman & Joo.
About 100 CD recordings with various labels (including Warner, Universal, cpo, Sony and Koch) bear witness to Howard Griffiths’ broad artistic range. These recordings include works by contemporary Swiss and Turkish composers as well as première recordings of rediscovered music dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. Howard Griffiths’ recordings of all the eight symphonies by Beethoven’s pupil Ferdinand Ries met with worldwide critical acclaim. Readers of the British magazine Classic CD voted a recording of works by Gerald Finzi “Classical CD of the Year” in this category.
Howard Griffiths performs with numerous renowned artists, and is also extremely committed to supporting and promoting young musicians. This is reflected in his work for the Orpheum Foundation for the Advancement of Young Soloists, of which he has been Artistic Director since 2000.
Equally enthusiastic, Howard Griffiths keeps engaging in musical projects for and with children and young adults. Multiple Educational Projects emerged from the collaboration with the Brandenburg Staatsorchester. In 2012, Howard Griffiths published the musical children’s book “Die Hexe und der Maestro”, which was enthusiastically received by audiences and critics. In 2013, the book was published as “The Witch and the Maestro” in English.
In the annual New Year’s Honours List, which is announced on New Year’s Day by Queen Elizabeth II, Howard Griffiths was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
Griffiths is married to the Turkish violist Semra Griffiths, who plays in the Zurich Opera orchestra. Their son Kevin Griffiths is also a conductor.