Rattle will be leaving his post as music director of the London Symphony Orchestra in 2023, after six years with the British orchestra, which he joined in 2017, replacing Valery Gergiev. The LSO has today announced the extension of his contract until 2023, at which point he will take on a lifetime role with the LSO as conductor emeritus, the first person to be appointed to this role since André Previn in 2016.
The British conductor has signed an initial five-year contract with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, effective from the 2023/24 concert season.
The orchestra hope to collaborate with Rattle on Bavaria’s project to build a new concert hall with first-class acoustics and a space to launch music education projects.
In taking on the role with the BRSO, Rattle follows in the footsteps of Colin Davis, Lorin Maazel and Rafael Kubelík, as well as the orchestra’s most recent chief conductor Mariss Jansons, who died in December 2019.
The news was revealed by The Times earlier this morning, in which chief music critic and BBC Music Magazine columnist Richard Morrison speculated that Rattle would return to Germany, where he has lived throughout his tenure with the LSO with his wife, the mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená.
‘My reasons for accepting the role of Chief Conductor in Munich are entirely personal, enabling me to better manage the balance of my work and be close enough to home to be present for my children in a meaningful way,’ says Rattle.
The Liverpool-born conductor rose to fame during the 1980s, when, at just 25 years old, he became music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble he is celebrated as having transformed during his 18-year tenure. In 2002, he became the first British principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. He remained with the German orchestra for 16 years, before handing over to Kirill Petrenko. We named the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in our list of the best orchestras in the world.
There was much excitement around his return to the UK in 2017 to join the London Symphony Orchestra. His inaugural season, This is Rattle, was seen as heralding a new era for the Barbican-based orchestra and received widespread critical acclaim.