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Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic.

Sir Simon Denis Rattle, CBE, FRSA, (born 19 January 1955) is an English conductor. He rose to international prominence as conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and since 2002[1] has been principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic (BPO).

Contents

Early life

Rattle was born in Liverpool, the son of Pauline Lila Violet (Greening) and Denis Guttridge Rattle, a sub-lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves.[2] He studied at Liverpool College. Although Rattle studied piano and violin, his early work with orchestras was as a percussionist. He entered the Royal Academy of Music in London in 1971. There, his teachers included John Carewe. In 1974, his graduation year, Rattle won the John Player Conductor Competition. After organising and conducting a performance of Mahler's Second Symphony whilst still at the Academy, he was talent-spotted by the music agent Martin Campell-White, of Harold Holt Ltd. (now Askonas Holt Ltd.), who has since managed Rattle's career.[3] He spent the academic year 1980/81 at St Anne's College, Oxford studying English Language and Literature.[4] He had been attracted to the college by the reputation of Dorothy Bednarowska, Fellow and Tutor in English.[5] He was elected an Honorary Fellow of St Anne's in 1991.[6] He was admitted to the degree of Doctor of Music honoris causa of the University of Oxford in 1999.[7]

UK career

In 1974, he was made assistant conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and in 1977 assistant conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

His time with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) from 1980 to 1998 drew him to the attention of critics and the public. In 1980, Simon Rattle became the CBSO's Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser, and in 1990, Music Director. Rattle increased both his profile and that of the orchestra over his tenure. One of his long-term concert projects was the series of concerts of 20th century music titled "Towards the Millennium". One other major achievement during his time was the move of the CBSO from its former venue, the Town Hall, to a newly built concert hall, Symphony Hall, in 1991. The BBC commissioned film director Jaine Green to follow him in his final year with the CBSO to make Simon Rattle — Moving On.

Rattle was awarded a CBE in 1987 and made a Knight Bachelor in 1994. In 1992, Rattle was named a Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE), along with Frans Brüggen. Rattle now has the title of Principal Artist with the OAE. In 2001, Rattle conducted the OAE at Glyndebourne in their first production of Fidelio with a period-instrument orchestra.[8]

In May 2006 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Arts.

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

Rattle made his conducting debut with the Berlin Philharmonic (BPO) in 1987, in a performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 6. In 1999, Rattle was appointed as successor to Claudio Abbado as the orchestra's principal conductor.[9] The appointment, decided on in a June 23 vote by the orchestra's members, was somewhat controversial, as several members of the orchestra were earlier reported to have preferred Daniel Barenboim for the post.[10] Nevertheless, Rattle won the post and proceeded to win over his detractors by refusing to sign the contract until he had ensured that every member of the orchestra was paid fairly, and also that the orchestra would gain artistic independence from the Berlin Senate.[11]

Before leaving for Germany and on his arrival, Rattle controversially attacked the British attitude to culture in general, and in particular the artists of the Britart movement,[12] together with the state funding of culture in the UK.[13]

Since his appointment, Rattle has reorganized the Berlin Philharmonic into a foundation, meaning its activities are more under the control of the members rather than politicians. He has also ensured that orchestra members' wages have increased quite dramatically, having fallen over the past few years.[14] He gave his first concert as principal conductor of the BPO on 7 September 2002, leading performances of Thomas Adès' Asyla and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5, performances which received rave reviews from the press worldwide[15] and were recorded for CD and DVD release by EMI. Early collaborative projects in the Berlin community with Rattle and the BPO involved a choreographed performance of Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps and a film project with Mark-Anthony Turnage's Blood on the Floor.[16] He has also continued to champion contemporary music in Berlin.[17] The orchestra has established its first education department during Rattle's tenure.[18]

Criticism of Rattle's tenure with the Berlin Philharmonic began to appear after their first season together,[19] and continued in their second season.[20] The German critic Klaus Geitel was reported in 2004 to have described Rattle as "the weakest musical director of the Berlin Philharmonic he's ever seen".[21] Rattle himself stated in 2005 that his relationship with the BPO musicians could sometimes be "turbulent", but also "never destructively so".[22]

In 2006, a new controversy began in the German press as to the quality of Rattle's concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic, with criticism from the German critic Manuel Brug in Die Welt.[23] One musician who wrote to the press to defend Rattle was the pianist Alfred Brendel.[24] In 2007, the BPO/Rattle recording of Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem received the Classic FM Gramophone best choral disc award.[25]

Rattle was originally contracted to lead the BPO through 2012, but in April 2008 the BPO musicians voted to extend his contract as chief conductor for an additional ten years past the next season, to 2019-2020.[26]

UNICEF appointed Rattle and the BPO as Goodwill Ambassadors in November 2007.[27]

Conducting in North America

Rattle made his North American debut in 1976, conducting the London Schools Symphony Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl. He conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic (LAP) in 1979, and was their Principal Guest Conductor from 1981–1994.[28] He also guest-conducted the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Boston Symphony Orchestra. His New York City debut was with the LAP in 1985.

In 1993, Rattle made his conducting debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra.[29] He returned for guest conducting engagements in 1999[30] and 2000.[31]. The musical relationship between Rattle and The Philadelphia Orchestra was reported to be such that Philadelphia wanted to hire Rattle as its next music director after Wolfgang Sawallisch, but Rattle declined.[32] However, Rattle continues to guest-conduct with The Philadelphia Orchestra in what is currently his sole North American guest-conducting engagement,[33] including appearances in 2006[34] and the Philadelphia Orchestra's first performances of Robert Schumann's Das Paradies und die Peri in November 2007.[35][36]

Musical styles and recordings

Rattle has conducted a wide variety of music, including some with period instruments (musical instruments contemporary with the music being played), but he is best known for his interpretations of late-19th and early 20th century composers such as Mahler, with a recording of Mahler's Second Symphony winning several awards on its release and being regarded by some music critics as Rattle's finest recording to date. He has also championed much contemporary music, an example of this being the TV series Leaving Home, where he presents a 7-part survey of musical styles and conductors with excerpts recorded by the CBSO. His newest recordings with the Berlin orchestra (as of 2006) have, on the whole, been favourably received, notably his recordings of the Dvořák tone poems and Debussy's La Mer. The Gramophone Magazine praised the latter as a "magnificent disc" and drew favourable comparisons with interpretations of the piece by Rattle's immediate predecessors, Claudio Abbado and Herbert von Karajan. He has also worked with the Toronto Children's Chorus. Rattle and the BPO also recorded Holst's Planets (EMI), which was the BBC Music Magazine Orchestra Choice. In addition, Rattle's complete 1989 recording of George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess was used as the soundtrack for the 1993 television production of the work. It was the first made-for-television production of Porgy and Bess ever presented. Rattle's 2007 recording of Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem received praise from BBC Music Magazine, as "Disc of the Month" for April 2007, "as probably the best new version of the Requiem I've heard in quite some years." Rattle and the BPO have also released recordings of Bruckner's Fourth Symphony, Romantic, and Haydn's Symphonies Nos. 88-92 and Sinfonia concertante, and Mahler's Ninth Symphony.

Simon Rattle's recording of Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem with the BPO received the Choral Performance Grammy Award in 2008.

Personal life

Rattle's first marriage was to Elise Ross, an American soprano, with whom he had two sons, one of whom, Sacha, is a clarinettist.[37] They were divorced in 1995 after 15 years of marriage. His second wife was Candace Allen, a Boston-born writer.[38] This second marriage ended after Rattle and the Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená began a relationship.[39] Kožená and Rattle have two sons, Jonas and Milos.

Rattle is a fan of Liverpool F.C.[40]

Books

Discography

References

  1. ^ berliner-philharmoniker.de
  2. ^ Nick Barratt (1 September 2007). "Family detective". Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/main.jhtml?xml=/education/2007/09/01/fafamdet101.xml. Retrieved 2007-09-27.  
  3. ^ "Artist Details: Sir Simon Rattle". Askonas Holt. http://www.askonasholt.co.uk/green/green/home.nsf/ArtistDetails/Sir%20Simon%20Rattle. Retrieved 2007-08-17.  
  4. ^ Sholto Byrnes (4 August 2006). "Simon Rattle: Marching to a revolutionary beat". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/simon-rattle-marching-to-a-revolutionary-beat-410417.html. Retrieved 2007-08-06.  
  5. ^ Elisabeth Jay, 'Obituary: Dorothy Bednarowska', The Independent (17 January 2003), paragraph 6
  6. ^ "Muriel Spark and Simon Rattle in honorands list". Oxford University Gazette. 21 January 1999. http://163.1.0.45/gazette/1998-9/weekly/210199/news/story_3.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-06.  
  7. ^ "Conferment of Honorary Degrees: Degree of Doctor of Music, Sir Simon Rattle, CBE". Oxford University Gazette (Encaenia 1999, Supplement (1) to Gazette No. 4517). 25 June 1999. http://www.ox.ac.uk/gazette/1998-9/supps/1_4517.htm#7Ref. Retrieved 2007-08-06.  
  8. ^ Peter Conrad (29 April 2001). "What's so funny about Beethoven?". The Observer. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,479986,00.html. Retrieved 2007-03-29.  
  9. ^ Andrew Clements (24 June 1999). "Picking up the baton". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,288989,00.html. Retrieved 2007-03-22.  
  10. ^ Fiachra Gibbons and Kate Connolly (12 June 1999). "Rattle set for classic music's top job". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,292499,00.html. Retrieved 2007-03-22.  
  11. ^ Ivan Hewett (7 September 2002). "Wilkommen Sir Simon!". Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2002/09/07/bmrat07.xml. Retrieved 2007-02-23.  
  12. ^ Kate Connolly and Amelia Hill (25 August 2002). "Rattle fires parting shot at Brit Art bratpack". The Observer. http://arts.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,780924,00.html. Retrieved 2007-01-30.  
  13. ^ Vanessa Thorpe (30 September 2001). "Rattle's rage at 'amateur' Arts Council". The Observer. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,560610,00.html. Retrieved 2007-01-30.  
  14. ^ Kate Connolly (8 September 2002). "Roll over Beethoven, here comes Sir Simon". The Guardian. http://arts.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,788189,00.html. Retrieved 2007-08-17.  
  15. ^ Kate Connolly (9 September 2002). "Rattle's rapturous debut". The Guardian. http://arts.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,788529,00.html. Retrieved 2007-03-22.  
  16. ^ Martin Kettle (30 August 2002). "My crazy idea". The Guardian. http://arts.guardian.co.uk/fridayreview/story/0,,782379,00.html. Retrieved 2007-03-22.  
  17. ^ Peter G. Davis (13 February 2006). "German Reengineering". New York. http://nymag.com/arts/classicaldance/classical/reviews/15701/. Retrieved 2007-04-03.  
  18. ^ Tom Service (11 May 2007). "The mighty 'wuah'". The Guardian. http://music.guardian.co.uk/classical/story/0,,2076511,00.html. Retrieved 2008-04-24.  
  19. ^ Stephen Everson (20 September 2003). "The end of the affair". The Guardian. http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,,1045683,00.html. Retrieved 2007-01-30.  
  20. ^ Charlotte Higgins and Ben Aris (29 April 2004). "Is Rattle's Berlin honeymoon over?". The Guardian. http://arts.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,1205606,00.html. Retrieved 2007-01-30.  
  21. ^ Ivan Hewett (21 December 2004). "Can Rattle rival the greats?"". Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2004/12/21/bmrattle21.xml. Retrieved 2007-02-23.  
  22. ^ Charlotte Higgins (7 January 2005). "Karaoke, wild tigers, hysteria: Rattle on his turbulent affair with the Berlin Philharmonic". The Guardian. http://arts.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,1385041,00.html. Retrieved 2007-03-22.  
  23. ^ Manuel Brug (11 May 2006). "Überwältigungsmusik, aber kaum Durchdringung" (in German). Die Welt. http://www.welt.de/data/2006/05/11/885075.html. Retrieved 2007-08-17.   (English)
  24. ^ Alfred Brendel (31 May 2006). "Criticism of Rattle is really out of tune". The Guardian. http://arts.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1786769,00.html. Retrieved 2007-08-17.  
  25. ^ Erica Jeal (5 October 2007). "Batons at dawn". The Guardian. http://music.guardian.co.uk/classical/story/0,,2183736,00.html. Retrieved 2007-11-22.  
  26. ^ Charlotte Higgins (29 April 2008). "Berlin Philharmonic keeps Rattle". The Guardian. http://music.guardian.co.uk/classical/story/0,,2276770,00.html. Retrieved 2008-04-30.  
  27. ^ UNICEF: UNICEF appoints Berliner Philharmoniker Goodwill Ambassador 2007-11-17.
  28. ^ "Simon Rattle is back in LA. with the Berlin Philharmonic", Los Angeles Times, November 21, 2009, http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2009/11/simon-rattle-brings-the-berlin-philharmonic-to-la.html  
  29. ^ Allan Kozinn (16 December 1993). "Rattle Leads the Philadelphia In Mahler's Ninth Symphony". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE3D7163CF935A25751C1A965958260. Retrieved 2007-01-30.  
  30. ^ Anthony Tommasini (28 January 1999). "Did Briton, Wielding Sibelius, Audition For a Job?". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9806E0DB1039F93BA15752C0A96F958260. Retrieved 2007-01-30.  
  31. ^ Bernard Holland (26 January 2000). "A Sense of Gluttony But an Easy Surrender". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE6DB173CF935A15752C0A9669C8B63. Retrieved 2007-01-30.  
  32. ^ Allan Kozinn (30 January 2004). "Top Conductors, Top Orchestras, Brahms in Common". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE6DB173CF935A15752C0A9669C8B63. Retrieved 2007-01-30.  
  33. ^ David Patrick Stearns, "Rattle's rocky road". Philadelphia Inquirer, 2 February 2006.
  34. ^ Allan Kozinn (9 February 2006). "Bruckner's Seventh and Painterly Tableaus in Song". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/09/arts/music/09phil.html?ex=1170219600&en=494bce6a3b959154&ei=5070. Retrieved 2007-01-30.  
  35. ^ Peter Dobrin (25 November 2007). "Passionate about Paradise". Philadelphia Inquirer. http://www.philly.com/inquirer/columnists/peter_dobrin/20071125_Passionate_about_Paradise.html. Retrieved 2008-04-24.  
  36. ^ Bernard Holland (3 December 2007). "Repentance as the Key to Open Pearly Gates". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/03/arts/music/03ratt.html. Retrieved 2008-04-24.  
  37. ^ Ed Vulliamy, Simon Rattle: bringing Berlin home to Liverpool, The Observer, 31 August 2008
  38. ^ Jan Moir (21 March 2003). "I hate to see myself conducting". Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2003/03/21/bmrat21.xml. Retrieved 2007-02-24.  
  39. ^ Neil Fisher (21 October 2006). "Magdalena and the men in her life". The Times. http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/whats_on/listings/article603384.ece. Retrieved 2007-11-22.  
  40. ^ "Liverpool gets it Rattle back". guardian. 2008-08-31. http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2008/aug/31/europeancapitalofculture2008.classicalmusicandopera.  

External links

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Simple English

[[File:|290px|thumb|Rattle conducts the Berlin Philharmonic.]] Sir Simon Rattle, (born Liverpool, 19 January 1955) is an English conductor. He became internationally famous as the conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra which he made into a world-class orchestra. Since 1999 he has been the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic.

Contents

Life

Early years

Rattle was born in Liverpool and studied at Liverpool College. He learned to play the piano and the violin. He started to play in orchestras, but as a percussionist. He went to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London in 1971. Three years later he won the John Player Conductor Competition. He organised and conducted a performance of Mahler's Second Symphony whilst still at the Academy. He spent a year studying English Language and literature at St Anne's College, Oxford.

Career in the UK

In 1974, he was made assistant conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and in 1977 assistant conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

He spent 18 years as conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), from 1980 to 1998. During this time he made the orchestra into one of the best European orchestras. The orchestra used to give their concerts at the Town Hall in Birmingham, but a new concert hall, the Symphony Hall, was opened in 1991. The BBC made a film about Rattle and the CBSO during his last year with the orchestra. It was called: Simon Rattle — Moving On.

Rattle was given the award of CBE in 1987 and made a Knight Bachelor in 1994. In 1992, Rattle was made Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE), together with Frans Brüggen. Rattle now has the title of Principal Artist with the OAE. In 2001, Rattle conducted the OAE at Glyndebourne in their first production of Beethoven’s opera Fidelio with a period-instrument orchestra.

In May 2006 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Arts.

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

The first time Rattle conducted the Berlin Philharmonic (BPO) was in 1987 when he gave a performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 6. In 1999 Rattle was made chief conductor of the orchestra when Claudio Abbado left. Before he agreed to take the job he insisted on making some changes to make sure that all the orchestral members were paid fairly and that the orchestra could make its own decisions instead of having to do what the Berlin Senate told them.

Before he left England he said some very critical things about the British attitude to culture, especially to music. He thought that not enough money was being spent on the arts and that the politicians were not interested in music.

He gave his first concert as principal conductor of the BPO on 7 September 2002, leading performances of Thomas Adès' Asyla and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5. He has done many new things since working in Berlin. He has continued to conduct the music of many living British composers. He has formed an educational programme so that young people in Berlin get used to hearing classical music. Some people have criticised what Rattle has done in Berlin, but many people support him.

Rattle was originally going to stay with the BPO until 2012, but in April 2008 the players decided they want him to stay until 2020

Conducting in North America

Rattle has toured to many countries during his career. He has conducted in North America. In 1979 he conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic (LAP) and was their Principal Guest Conductor from 19811994. He also guest-conducted the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Boston Symphony Orchestra.

In 1993, Rattle conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra. They wanted him to be their chief conductor, but Rattle could not take on the job. Instead, he often performs as their guest conductor.

Musical styles and recordings

Rattle has conducted lots of different music, sometimes old music with period instruments, sometimes music by living composers. He is very well known for his performances of Mahler. He has won many awards for his recordings.

Personal life

Rattle has been married three times. He is a fan of Liverpool F.C.

Other websites


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