Simon Rattle

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Sir Simon Denis Rattle, CBE, FRSA, (born 19 January 1955) is an English conductor. He rose to international prominence as conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and since 2002[1] has been principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic (BPO).


Early life

Rattle was born in Liverpool, the son of Pauline Lila Violet (Greening) and Denis Guttridge Rattle, a Commander in the Royal Navy.[2] He was educated at Liverpool College. Although Rattle studied piano and violin, his early work with orchestras was as a percussionist. He entered the Royal Academy of Music in London in 1971. There, his teachers included John Carewe. In 1974, his graduation year, Rattle won the John Player Conductor Competition. After organising and conducting a performance of Mahler's Second Symphony whilst still at the Academy, he was talent-spotted by the music agent Martin Campell-White, of Harold Holt Ltd. (now Askonas Holt Ltd.), who has since managed Rattle's career.[3] He spent the academic year 1980/81 at St Anne's College, Oxford studying English Language and Literature.[4] He had been attracted to the college by the reputation of Dorothy Bednarowska, Fellow and Tutor in English.[5] He was elected an Honorary Fellow of St Anne's in 1991.[6] He was admitted to the degree of Doctor of Music honoris causa of the University of Oxford in 1999.[7]

UK career

In 1974, he was made assistant conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. His first Prom at the Royal Albert Hall, conducting the London Sinfonietta, was, according to the BBC Proms Archive web-site, on 9th August 1976. The programme included Sir Harrison Birtwistle's Meridian and Schoenberg's First Chamber Symphony. In 1977 he became assistant conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

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