Simon Rattle appointed music director of London Symphony Orchestra

The conductor is currently artistic director of the Berliner Philharmoniker

Sir Simon Rattle, one of the world's most acclaimed conductors, is to “come home” to the UK after he was appointed music director of the London Symphony Orchestra.

The LSO announced this morning that Sir Simon would join in 2017. In taking on the mantle of principal conductor, he follows in the footsteps of greats including André Previn, Michael Tilson Thomas, Sir Colin Davis and Valery Gergiev.

The position of music director will involve him working across all the LSO’s operations including heading up the digital operations and music education.

Sir Simon said: “During my work with the LSO over the last years, I noticed that despite the Orchestra’s long and illustrious history, they almost never refer to it. Instead, refreshingly, they talk about the future, what can they make anew, what can they improve, how can they reach further into the community. In terms of musical excellence, it is clear that the sky's the limit.“

He continued: “But equally important, in terms of philosophy, they constantly strive to be a twenty-first century orchestra. We share a dream in which performing, teaching and learning are indivisible, with wider dissemination of our art at its centre. I cannot imagine a better or more inspiring way to spend my next years.”

Sir Simon, whose first appearance with the LSO was in 1977 at the age of 22, is currently chief conductor and artistic director of the Berliner Philharmoniker, where he was appointed in 2002.

He conducted the LSO at the opening ceremony of London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, including performing Chariots of Fire with Rowan Atkinson.

In January, he conducted two concerts with the LSO of Schumann, Stravinsky, Webern, Berg and Ligeti at the Barbican Centre.

Lennox Mackenzie, chairman of the LSO, said: “I am thrilled that Sir Simon Rattle has accepted our invitation to lead the Orchestra into the future,“ adding it was a ”hugely important moment in the LSO’s history“.

Kathryn McDowell, managing director of the LSO, said: “This is the realisation of a dream, to bring Simon Rattle back to his home country to lead the extraordinary musicians of the LSO.”

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