Duncan Riddell studied violin at Trinity College of Music during which time he became leader of both the European Community Youth Orchestra and the International Festival Youth Orchestra (under the batons of Claudio Abbado and Carlo Maria Giulini) as well as winning internal college prizes and the silver medal at the first Shell/LSO scholarship for string players in 1978.
On leaving music college, he founded the Roth String Quartet which won international prizes and performed extensively around Britain, on the continent and on BBC Radio 3. In 1989, the quartet disbanded and Duncan accepted a principal position in the North German Radio Philharmonic in Hannover which led to recordings and performances as soloist and with chamber groups in Germany.
At the beginning of 1994, he was appointed co-leader of the London Philharmonic Orchestra with whom he also made recordings and concert appearances as soloist and director.
Duncan Riddell was leader of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra from 2001 to the summer of 2010 during which time he appeared many times as soloist and director including a live BBC Radio 3 broadcast of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Andrew Litton.
In 2008 he made his North American debut directing the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in several concerts performing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
Since taking up the post of leader of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2010, he has continued his solo and directing work with the RPO and continues to be in demand as a guest leader with many of the major orchestras in the UK and as far afield as North America and Japan where he regularly appears as guest leader of the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo. He has also performed as leader in collaborations with the Israel Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa.