Sir Simon Rattle

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About Sir Simon Rattle

Renowned for his irrepressible enthusiasm for new repertoire and the more colorful composers of the 20th century, Simon Rattle transformed the fortunes of Britain’s City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) in the ’80s and ‘90s before becoming principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. Born in Liverpool in 1955, Rattle’s career took off when in 1974 he won first prize in the John Player International Conducting Competition. Engagements followed with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonietta, Glyndebourne touring opera, and the London Sinfonietta before his appointment as the CBSO’s principal conductor in 1980. His energetic command of that orchestra, demanding the highest standards of performance in his promotion of 20th-century repertoire—most particularly the works of Mahler (the 1986 recording of Symphony No. 2 is one of his finest achievements), Sibelius, and Stravinsky—paid off, with international acclaim given to their recordings and tours abroad. Boosted by this success, Rattle was able to draw higher subsidies and secure the building of Symphony Hall, a state-of-the-art concert hall for the CBSO, which opened in 1991. His experience as Guest Conductor of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (from 1992) led to his introducing historically informed performance (HIP) practices to modern orchestras—first the CBSO, then the Berlin Philharmonic (as its principal conductor, 2002–18)—when performing Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. He became Artistic Director of the London Symphony Orchestra in the 2010s and remains in demand as a guest conductor in both Europe and North America.

Liverpool, England
January 19, 1955
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