Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Persons catalog

Simon Rattle

Simon Rattle (b. 1955) — English conductor and music popularizer, artistic director of the Berliner Philharmoniker. In Poland he is known as a great admirer and propagator of music by Karol Szymanowski and Witold Lutosławski.

Simon Rattle was born in Liverpool. He completed the Royal Academy of Music in London. Between 1980 and 1998 he was conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In 1994, Queen Elizabeth II gave him the knighthood title “Sir”. In September 2002, he became Claudio Abbado’s successor at the post of music director to the Berliner Philharmoniker.

He has to his account over 70 discs recorded for EMI Classics, including a series of exploratory interpretations of Karol Szymanowski’s music. He has been a long-time conductor of the most important symphonic orchestras in the world, and leads ensembles which perform on period instruments – for example in his collaboration of over 20 years with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

For the 2012-2013 season, Sir Simon Rattle has programmed a cycle of concerts with the music of Witold Lutosławski for the Berlin Philharmonic, himself leading the performances of the Symphony no. 3, Piano Concerto (with Krystian Zimmerman), Double Concerto, Cello Concerto, Preludes and a Fugue, and the Symphony no. 2.

In an interview for the Polish Radio he remembered Witold Lutosławski in the following manner: “He was a patrician, aristocrat, gentleman. But it was evident for me that under this coat there sleeps a volcano. He was the most civilized composer with the best of manners. You’ll find these traits in his music, which isn’t to say that it doesn’t have its darkness, aggression, and violence. (...) He is someone whom I greatly miss”.

On April 20, 2013, in Berlin, Sir Simon Rattle received the Witold Lutosławski Centenary Medal for his outstanding contributions to the dissemination of the composer’s music and knowledge about his person. (sw/mk)