Sir Simon Rattle begins his Directorship with the London Symphony Orchestra

This week, Sir Simon Rattle takes up his long-awaited post as Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra. On Thursday 14 September, he will kick off the season with a programme of English music (including Helen Grime, Birtwistle, Adès and Elgar) in the Barbican Centre, London. This will be followed by Berlioz’ The Damnation of Faust on 17 and 19 September, and Stravinsky’s revolutionary ballets on 21 and 24 September. See full list of dates and programmes below:

14 September
HELEN GRIME Fanfare (world premiere, Barbican commission)
ADÈS Asyla
BIRTWISTLE Violin Concerto
KNUSSEN Symphony No. 3
ELGAR Variations on an Original Theme, Enigma

Violin: Christian Tetzlaff

17 and 19 September
BERLIOZ The Damnation of Faust, Op. 24

Marguerite: Karen Cargill
Faust: Bryan Hymel
Mephistopheles: Gerald Finley
Brander: Gabor Bretz

21 and 24 September
STRAVINSKY The Firebird (original ballet)
STRAVINSKY Petrushka (1947 version)
STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring
This programme will also be performed in the Philharmonie de Paris on 22 September.


Rare photograph of Sir Simon Rattle,
displayed as part of the exhibition.
National Portrait Gallery Collection,
London © 1982 Rory Coonan

To celebrate his inaugural season as Music Director of the LSO and as Barbican Guildhall Associate Artist, the LSO are hosting ten days of celebratory events of which everyone can take part in. More information and the full list of events can be found on the LSO website. Along with this celebration, Askonas Holt and the LSO are putting on a free exhibition, Rattle: A Barbican Music Library Exhibitionfrom 14 September to 22 December at the Barbican Music Library, which will include photos and memorabilia covering Simon’s musical life to date.

Listen & watch online

Various concerts during #ThisIsRattle will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3, including the opening concert, the first Damnation of Faust, and the first Stravinsky ballets concert. Find out more about Rattle on Radio 3 here.

In addition, three of Sir Simon’s performances will be streamed live online:

  • 14 September, opening concert – live on and arte concert
  • 17 September, Damnation of Faust – live on YouTube
  • 24 September, Stravinsky ballets – live on YouTube

Find out more on the LSO website.

Simon’s 2017/18 season

The 2017/18 season will be a particularly busy one for Simon as he will simultaneously keep up his position as Chief Conductor and Artist Director at the Berliner Philharmoniker until June 2018, alongside his new LSO title.

This November, Simon and the Berliner Philharmoniker embark on a tour around Asia, joined by piano virtuoso Lang Lang, taking him to cities including Kowloon, Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo. Right after the Asia tour, Simon and the LSO begin their European tour and fellow AH artist Simon O’ Neill will also be joining them at the Philharmonie Luxembourg as part of the tour. Highlights in 2018 include Simon returning to Munich with Bayerische Rundfunk, his regular slot in Festspielhaus Baden-Baden with the Berliner Philharmoniker, and to USA with the LSO. He will finish off his last season as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker in Waldbühne on 6 June 2018, joined by Magdalena Kožená.

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