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Sir Simon Rattle. Copyright: Uli Deck dpa/lsw
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

From Berlin to London

March 4, 2015

The star conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic will return to his home country to lead the London Symphony Orchestra in September 2017. The move might shake up the world of classical music in Britain.


Sir Simon Rattle is expected to breathe new life into the often conservative world of symphonic orchestras in the country. "Rattle's appointment is precisely the seismic, creative shock that classical music needs," wrote critic Tom Service in "The Guardian" of the conductor's move to the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO).

Even though the music director's contract in London only starts in two years, Rattle has already started spreading ideas of change. Following declarations where the conductor deemed the Barbican, the LSO's current residence, as merely "serviceable," the British government has launched a feasibility study which might lead to the construction of a new concert hall.

Considered one of the greatest conductors in the world, Rattle earned his reputation as a prodigy by winning a prestigious conducting award in 1974 at the age of 19. He first performed with the LSO when he was 22.

Sir Simon Rattle Copyright: STR / LEHTIKUVA / Seppo Samuli
Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic in 2012Image: picture-alliance/dpa

The 60-year-old has been the principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic since 2002. "It's been fascinating to work in such a different type of culture," he said at a news conference on Tuesday (3.3.2015). His German contract will end in 2018, so he plans to juggle two jobs for the 2017-2018 season. Berlin's new conductor will be revealed on May 11.

Rattle believes he will end his career in London. "This is my last job, this is my last big job," he said, adding, "I cannot imagine a more inspiring way to spend my next years."

eg/kbm (Reuters/AFP/AP)

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