Sir Simon Rattle, one of the world’s most renowned conductors, is leaving the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) to take up a new post in Germany.
Sir Simon will become Chief Conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, in Munich, in 2023 when he succeeds Mariss Jansons, who died in December 2019.
Sir Simon had been expected to remain with the London Symphony, and his departure is considered a great loss to the LSO, but the conductor has agreed to extend his contract with the orchestra for an extra year, and will take up a lifetime role as Conductor Emeritus from 2023 onwards, the first such appointment to this role since André Previn.
Sir Simon has strong links to Germany, and was previously chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic for 16 years. He currently lives in Berlin with his third wife, the Czech-born singer Magdalena Kozena, and their three children.
In a statement, the conductor said: ‘I am delighted that I will continue in my role as music director of the Orchestra for another three years, extending my contract until 2023, and that I will be able to remain closely associated with the orchestra into the future.
‘My reasons for accepting the role of Chief Conductor in Munich are entirely personal, enabling me to better manage the balance of my work and be close enough to home to be present for my children in a meaningful way. I love the London Symphony Orchestra. I remain committed to the LSO, and we have plans for major projects in the coming years. I am thrilled that we will be making music together far into the future.’Sir Simon Rattle
The conductor is already scheduled to play three concerts with the BRSO in March 2021. It is believed he was their first choice to succeed Jansons, who helmed the orchestra for 16 years before his death in December 2019 from a long-standing heart condition.
News of Sir Simon’s appointment first appeared in the German and Austrian press.
The orchestra’s director, Ulrich Wilhelm, said the company was ‘delighted’ to welcome Sir Simon aboard, praising his ‘passion, artistic versatility and winning charisma.’