Sir Simon appointed Chief Conductor

Sir SImon Rattle (c) BR / Astrid Ackermann

Mariss Jansons’s successor as Chief Conductor of the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and the Bavarian Radio Chorus has been chosen: Sir Simon Rattle will lead the two ensembles beginning with the 2023/24 concert season, having signed an initial five-year contract with the Bayerischer Rundfunk on 3 January 2021. Sir Simon, currently Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra and widely recognised as one of the most insightful conductors of our times, previously led the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Berliner Philharmoniker in long, enormously successful tenures as Music Director. 

Throughout his career, Sir Simon has always stood for a spirit of openness, renewal and awakening within the world of classical music. These qualities made him even more the preferred candidate of the musicians of the BR Chorus and Symphonieorchester, who voted overwhelmingly in his favour. Sir Simon, now 65, will assume the role of Chief Conductor at the start of the 2023/24 season.

Ulrich Wilhelm, BR-Intendant

“The Bayerischer Rundfunk is delighted that Sir Simon is coming to Munich as our next Chief Conductor. With his passion, artistic versatility and winning charisma, he will be a most worthy successor to Mariss Jansons. Our Chorus and the Symphonieorchester look forward enormously to developing the artistic concept for the new concert hall in Munich’s Werksviertel Mitte together with Sir Simon, who is peerless in his advocacy for bringing the joy of music to people in new ways. I see this appointment as an important and forward-looking signal, particularly in a time in which the arts have faced unimagined challenges as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

Sir Simon Rattle (c) Jim Rakete
Sir Simon Rattle

I am thrilled to accept the position of Chief Conductor of the Symphonieorchester and BR Chorus. It is an honour to succeed Mariss Jansons in this role, and I look forward to leading these wonderful musicians for many years to come.”

First encounter with the symphony orchestra 50 years ago

In October 1970, the teenage Simon Rattle experienced Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in his home town of Liverpool, performed by the BRSO under the leadership of Rafael Kubelík while on tour in England.

Sir Simon:
“Attending this concert changed my life. Already a Kubelík fan, I was aware of the BRSO through many recordings I had bought. But the orchestra’s visit to Liverpool made a profound impression on a teenager who wished to be a conductor – to experience such a symbiotic relationship between conductor and players, and the unanimity of concept and philosophy was as evident as the sheer pleasure the musicians emanated. This concert became a kind of benchmark for me, a goal towards which musicians should strive.

When in 2010, nearly 40 years later, I found myself standing in front of this orchestra for the first time, playing my beloved Schumann, I felt exactly the same spirit, even though only a couple of players had remained from that time. Kubelík had somehow set the tone, the atmosphere of flexible, refined and loving music making – qualities that have only been amplified by the great conductors who came in between, culminating in my much missed friend Mariss.

When I look forward to collaborating with this great orchestra and their astonishing chorus, I would therefore like to pay tribute to all the extraordinary musicians who came before and who created such artistic warmth and ‘Menschlichkeit’. The people change, but the ethos remains.”

Sir Simon’s debut with the BR Chorus and BRSO in 2010 was a performance of Schumann’s “Paradise and the Peri”. Joint projects have since included the Wagner operas “Das Rheingold” and “Die Walküre” as well as Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde” – widely-acclaimed performances that were subsequently commercially released by the BR-Klassik label. The BRSO and Sir Simon have developed a shared musical approach through performances ranging through a wide variety of repertoire from Rameau to Haydn, Mozart to Ligeti. In March 2021, Sir Simon will conduct two programmes with the BRSO, including the world premiere of a work by Ondřej Adámek; Georg Friedrich Haas‘s monumental composition “in vain”; and works by Purcell, Haydn, Brahms, Stravinsky and Messiaen.

Sir Simon:
“Building on wonderful moments of music-making together over the last ten years, we will explore a wide range of wonderful music together and craft programs across many genres – both for our live-audiences and for viewers and listeners of the BR’s media channels. Our ambitions include the development of the orchestra’s creativity with period performance practice, as well as building closer connections with the Musica Viva series in the city.”

Orchestra Representatives of the BRSO:
“We are overjoyed to welcome Simon Rattle as our new Chief Conductor! Right from the very beginning, Simon Rattle and the musicians of the BRSO have enjoyed an extraordinarily deep musical understanding. Simon Rattle embodies both the orchestra’s wish to nourish the BRSO’s great musical tradition as well as its desire to reach ever more people with our passion for music through innovative new ways. It is a matter close to our hearts to further the legacy of our late Chief Conductor Mariss Jansons through the realization of his lifelong project, the new Konzerthaus München, which we look forward to filling with life together with Simon Rattle as our new musical home. We can hardly wait to continue our shared musical journey with Simon Rattle!”

Representatives of the BR Chorus:
“The choice of Simon Rattle as Chief Conductor in succession to Mariss Jansons could not be more felicitous for the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and the BR Chorus! Our long-standing collaboration is characterized by the highest collegial warmth and a facility across all musical styles and periods that is so vital to us. From our very first collaboration, with Schumann’s “Paradise and the Peri”, the working atmosphere was one of greatest mutual appreciation. We look forward to all our future projects together, ranging from the baroque music to “Musica Viva”.

Innovative projects, new media, and delight in experimentation

The BRSO not only identifies with Sir Simon’s stylistic versatility – from baroque to contemporary music – it also values his innovative spirit and open-mindedness in social matters. The creation of the Digital Concert Hall of the Berliner Philharmoniker, which was a pioneer of internet livestreaming in 2008, took place while he was the orchestra’s Music Director, as did the presentation of numerous successful and award-winning education projects. “Rhythm Is It!”, a documentary about staging a choreographed performance of Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’ with the Berliner Philharmoniker and children from across Berlin’s public school system, played to sold-out cinemas across Europe. Just last year, Sir Simon oversaw the establishment of the London Symphony’s East London Academy, where professional musicians teach and support young people from diverse backgrounds.

Shared challenges: social participation at the new concert hall

Sir Simon and the BRSO are looking forward not just to their artistic work together, but also to further challenges. They want to provide access to music for as many people as possible in Bavaria – especially for those whose access may be limited by their backgrounds or social environments. This aim is shared by Bavaria’s Konzerthaus project in Munich, where the priority is to build a hall with first-class acoustics, and to create a suitable infrastructure for music education and education projects. The broad accessibility of these projects is essential both to Sir Simon and to the BRSO.

Sir Simon:
“As part of my new role, I will advocate for the new Konzerthaus in Munich, offering all my support to the Bavarian State to make this project a reality. This facility will provide the BRSO with the working environment that they deserve, as well as a destination for musicians from Munich, Bavaria and beyond. In the meantime, we will continue to extend the orchestra’s education work in the Werksviertel Mitte, where the hall will be built, as well as in many other communities around Bavaria.”

In the company of illustrious predecessors

Sir Simon Rattle will become the sixth chief conductor in the history of the BRSO, succeeding Eugen Jochum, Rafael Kubelík, Sir Colin Davis, Lorin Maazel and Mariss Jansons.


Video announcement Sir Simon

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Gallery

Ulrich Wilhelm und Sir Simon Rattle © BR
Ulrich Wilhelm und Sir Simon Rattle © BR
Sir Simon Rattle © Astrid Ackermann
Sir Simon Rattle © Astrid Ackermann
Sir Simon Rattle © Astrid Ackermann
Sir Simon Rattle © Astrid Ackermann
Sir Simon Rattle © Astrid Ackermann
Sir Simon Rattle (c) BR / Astrid Ackermann
Sir Simon Rattle (c) BR / Astrid Ackermann
Sir Simon Rattle (c) BR / Astrid Ackermann
Sir Simon Rattle (c) BR / Astrid Ackermann
Sir Simon Rattle (c) BR / Astrid Ackermann
Sir Simon Rattle und Mitglieder des BRSO (c) BR / Astrid Ackermann

Former Concerts With SIr Simon Rattle


July 19 & 20, 2020 – Philharmonie im Gasteig

PROGRAMME

Wolfgang Amadé Mozart
Overture “Le nozze di Figaro”

Gustav Mahler
“Rückert-Lieder”

Paul Dukas
Fanfare pour précéder “La Péri”

Maurice Ravel
Ma mère l’oye

Sir Simon Rattle, Conductor
Magdalena Kožená, Mezzo-Soprano
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

 


June 4, 2020 – Studio 1, BR

Programme

Ralph Vaughan Williams
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Serenade in B-flat major, K. 361 “Gran Partita”

Sir Simon Rattle, Conductor
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks


January 26, 2018 – Herkulessaal

PROGRAMME

Robert Schumann
Symphony No 3 E-flat major, op 97 “Rhenish”

Gustav Mahler
“The Song of the Earth”

Sir Simon Rattle, Conductor
Magdalena Kožená, Mezzo-Soprano
Stuart Skelton, Tenor
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks


More Videos


Interview with Sir Simon and Anne SChoenholtz, Member of the BRSO – June 2020

“This is like a feast after a famine” – Sir Simon Rattle talked to our violinist Anne Schoenholtz about the first project after the lockdown, the program he has chosen for this occasion and how he has been experiencing the situation in recent months.

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Rehearsal with Sir Simon Rattle – July 2020

In July 2020, Sir Simon Rattle was a guest of the BRSO and we met him during the rehearsal.
The concert video can be seen here.

 

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