With his recent appointment to lead the London Symphony Orchestra we thought it might be a good time to compile a ‘need to know’ on Sir Simon Rattle for those of you out there who may not have heard of him.
A quick summary before this about his appointment to the LSO – It’s a very, very good thing.
1) He’s not about elitist concert halls shut off to the public-at-large. He wants to democratise classical music and fling the metaphorical doors open to one and all. As succinctly put by Tom Service in The Guardian:
” …his priorities will be the same as they always have throughout his career: to democratise the art form, to shatter the dangerous illusion that the primary function of orchestras is to play concerts in gilt-edged cages around the world, and to connect new audiences with orchestral music. He did it in Birmingham and Berlin, and he will do it in London.”
2) It PROBABLY will result in a new concert hall for the newly transformed, accessible form of classical music he’s peddling in London.
3) It was his father’s dream for him to become a conductor
4) He’s married to a classical singer/opera singer
5) George Osborne is a big fan (!)
6) His opinion of the Royal Festival Hall is relatively low: “The will to live slips away in the first half-hour of rehearsal.”
7) He conducted the LSO at the 2012 Olympics (along with Rowan Atkinson) – watch that here:
8) Time International writer Aisha Labi noted that Rattle “seems at first glance an unlikely icon. He sports impish good looks and a distinctive mane of tousled curls. But it is Rattle’s vitality and catholic approach to the musical canon that have won him international acclaim.”
9) In 1980 he was offered the top job with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) at the age of JUST 25 and transformed the orchestra (and the city) completely. New York Times writer James B. Oestreich wrote that the conductor and musical director applied to the CBSO “a single-mindedness and dedication that went out of fashion decades ago, and he is widely credited with having transformed it from a provincial band into, on any given night, one of the finest and most adventurous ensembles in England.”
10) His performances are fiery and he get’s a uniquely enormous sound from his orchestras which are (some would say) incomparable.
The three videos below demonstrate this: