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Simon Rattle

Principal Guest Conductor 
Rafael Kubelík Chair


“My relationship with the Czech Philharmonic began already when I was eight or nine years old. My parents gave me pocket money so I could buy recordings, and I dug into the Supraphon catalogue. That was really interesting, and the recordings in it were sometimes cheaper that those made by Western companies. That was when I discovered how unique the orchestra sounds, and especially the character of the woodwinds and the special quality of the strings. I felt like I had grown up with the Czech Philharmonic.

Image 221116_koncert-pro-svobodu-a-demokracii_koncert_webres_070_-c-_petr-kadlec.jpg

Biography

We have seen one of today’s most distinguished conductors, Sir Simon Rattle, relatively often at the Rudolfinum in recent years. His long-term cooperation with the Czech Philharmonic has led to his appointment together with his wife, mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená, as Artist-in-Residence for the 2022/2023 season. At his appearances with the Czech Philharmonic, he has performed a number of symphonic works and, most notably, compositions for voices and orchestra from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the repertoire for which Rattle has been the most acclaimed. He appeared most recently at the Rudolfinum in February 2024 with the pianist Yuja Wang, with whom he made a Grammy-nominated recording from their joint tour of Asia in 2017. From the 2024/2025 season, he becomes the Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic.

A native of Liverpool and a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music has held a series of important positions in the course of his long career. He came to worldwide attention as the chief conductor of the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, where he was employed for a full 18 years (for eight years as its music director); next came 16 years with the Berlin Philharmonic (2002–2018; artistic director and chief conductor) and six years with the London Symphony Orchestra. He opened the 2023/2024 season as chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. He also leads the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with the title of “principle artist”, and he is the founder of the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. Besides holding full-time conducting posts, he maintains ties with the world’s leading orchestras and gives concerts frequently in Europe, the USA, and Asia.

He has made more than 70 recordings for EMI (now Warner Classics). He has won a number of prestigious international awards for his recordings including three Grammy Awards for Mahler’s Symphony No. 10, Brahms’s German Requiem, and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, which he recorded with the Berlin Philharmonic.

Besides the prizes mentioned above, Rattle’s long-term partnership with the Berlin Philharmonic also led to the new educational programme Zukunft@Bphil, which has achieved great success. Even after moving on from that orchestra, Rattle did not abandon his engagement with music education, and he has taken part together with the London Symphony Orchestra in the creation of the LSO East London Academy. Since 2019, that organisation has been seeking out talented young musicians, developing their potential free of charge regardless of their origins and financial situation.

Concerts

Media

Dvořák: The Wild Dove (Czech Philharmonic & Simon Rattle)

  • Youtube

Dvořák was captivated by Erben’s poetry for many years. Already in 1884, he had composed a cantata based on the ballade The Spectre’s Bride, but now he chose four more poems for purely orchestral compositions. Listen to Dvořák's The Wild Dove by the Czech Philharmonic under the baton of Simon Rattle.

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