The Sunday Edition

Legendary conductor Sir Simon Rattle on the future of classical music

Sir Simon Rattle, one of the world's top conductors, talks to Michael Enright about what it was like to hear Mahler's 2nd Symphony at the age of 11, why it's essential to introduce audiences to contemporary music, and why politicians should show up at concerts.

Sir Simon Rattle on the future of live classical music

Sir Simon Rattle, who has led the Berlin Philharmonic since 2002, will join the London Symphony Orchestra in September 2017. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Sir Simon Rattle is one of the world's top conductors. He grew up in Liverpool, and conducted his first symphony concert when he was 15 years old.

When he was just 25, he was appointed conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, which at the time had an unremarkable reputation.

When he left Birmingham 18 years later, the CBSO was acclaimed as one of the world's finest, and it was performing in a new state-of-the-art concert hall. In fact, Rattle's cultural influence was so great that he has been credited with reviving Birmingham's fortunes after its post-industrial collapse.

Although [music] is available on all our fantastic human relationships, it should be live. - Sir Simon Rattle
Since 2002, Sir Simon Rattle has been Chief Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, which many consider to be the finest orchestra on the planet. Next year, he will take over as music director of the London Symphony Orchestra.
Sir Simon Rattle will swap Berlin for Britain, taking over as music director of the London Symphony Orchestra. Rattle, who has led the Berlin Philharmonic since 2002, will join the London ensemble in September 2017. (The Associated Press)

Sir Simon spoke to Michael about the importance of music education and making music accessible to a wide range of communities — including refugees who have recently arrived in Germany.

At the beginning of March, we played a concert with three orchestras together for an audience only of refugees. This is whole new extraordinary community that's coming into our country...and we're all very proud to be in a country which can say, let's do the difficult thing rather than the expedient thing.- Sir Simon Rattle

You can watch as he leads 6 Berlin school orchestras in a rehearsal of Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King in this video: 

On November 15 and 16, Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic will perform in Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall.

Click the button above to hear Michael's conversation with Sir Simon Rattle. 


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