Conductor Rattle heads to London, wants 'theatrical' concerts

Tue Mar 3, 2015 10:15am EST
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By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters) - International conducting star Simon Rattle said he hoped to make the concert experience more theatrical to attract younger audiences, as the London Symphony Orchestra announced on Tuesday he would become its fulltime music director in 2017.

Rattle, 60, who will combine his new job with his current role as principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic until 2018, said he had learned a lot since joining the German ensemble more than a decade ago.

"It's been fascinating to work in such a different type of culture," Rattle, whose move to London was one of the worst kept secrets in music, said at a news conference announcing his appointment by the LSO.

"I've learned an enormous amount and probably the orchestra has taken on a few things," Rattle said of the Berlin ensemble, often ranked as the world's best orchestra.

Rattle said he planned to keep a home in the German capital where he lives with his Czech mezzo-soprano wife Magdalena Kozena and their three children.

He said his posting in London, where he takes over from Russian maestro Valery Gergiev, who ends his stint as principal conductor this year, would probably be his last.

"This is my last job, this is my last big job," Rattle said, adding that he expected to work beyond an initial five-year contract.

He said he and the LSO musicians and management saw eye-to-eye on the need for more music education and community outreach, and on making classical music more exciting and accessible.   Continued...

Conductor Simon Rattle takes part in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium July 27, 2012.   REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach