Simon Rattle becomes chief conductor of the BR Symphony Orchestra
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Sir Simon Rattle was chief conductor in London for three years. Now he is going to Munich and taking over the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. The BR continues the series of its renowned chief conductors.
Es is a top personal in the world of classical music: Sir Simon Rattle becomes chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (BRSO). The 65-year-old is currently music director of the London Symphony Orchestra. Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) announced on Monday in Munich that he will take up his position in Munich as head of the renowned orchestra and choir in the 2023/2024 season. The contract will initially run for five years.
“With his passion, his artistic versatility and his engaging charisma, he will be an extremely worthy successor to Mariss Janons,” said BR director Ulrich Wilhelm. Like no other, he stands for new ways of getting people excited about music. This is an important signal, especially at a time when art is struggling with restrictions caused by the pandemic.
The Brit has a lot of experience with top German orchestras, not only because he has often been at the conductor’s podium at the BRSO. From 2002 to 2018 he was chief conductor and artistic director of the Berliner Philharmoniker. In 2017 he took over the post in London.
So now he will succeed Mariss Jansons, who had headed the ensemble since 2003 and who unexpectedly died on December 1, 2019 at the age of 76. An honor, as Rattle called it on Monday. “I’m thrilled,” he said.
The decision did not come as a surprise
The decision in favor of Rattle comes as no surprise. According to reports, he should have been Jansons’ preferred candidate. When the demand debate arose after his death, Rattle was soon traded as a contender, as was the 45-year-old Canadian Yannick Nézet-Séguin, currently music director of the New York Metropolitan Opera. The Austrian Franz Welser-Möst (60), music director of the Cleveland Orchestra since 2002, was also brought into play in media reports.
The fact that there is now a well-known successor for Jansons after a good year was above all a concern of BR director Ulrich Wilhelm. Before the end of his term of office on January 31, he wanted a decision, but not across the orchestra. Wilhelm always emphasized that there was very close coordination with the members of the symphony orchestra. However, the corona pandemic delayed the decision. Travel restrictions and the cancellation of concerts made it difficult to find and talk to candidates.
Another important aspect for a future chief conductor is the planned new Munich concert hall as the home of the orchestra. Jansons had always advocated it. But the planned start of construction in spring 2018 came to nothing. Since then, there is still planning and, in view of the Corona crisis, looking for ways to make the project cheaper. Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) is still committed to the prestige project.