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Sir Simon Rattle Named Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic

Rattle will hold the Rafael Kubelík Chair for an initial term of five years


It has been announced that Sir Simon Rattle will serve as the new Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, effective from the opening of the 2024/25 season.

Rattle's formal relationship with the orchestra began when he and his wife, soprano Magdalena Kožená, were appointed as Artists in Residence for the 2022/23 season.

Between 2002 and 2018, Rattle was Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Before this time, he spent 18 years as Chief Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

He is also Conductor Emeritus of the London Symphony Orchestra, having been its Music Director between 2017 and 2023.

“My relationship with the Czech Philharmonic began already when I was eight or nine years old," Rattle said. "My parents gave me pocket money so I could buy recordings, and I dug into the Supraphon catalogue...that was when I discovered how unique the orchestra sounds, and especially the character of the woodwinds and the special quality of the strings. I felt like I had grown up with the Czech Philharmonic."

"But it was many years before I conducted that orchestra for the first time. And when that finally happened in 2019, it seemed terribly natural to me, as if I had had been standing before it since time immemorial. I fell in love with their cordiality and with their typically Czech dark humor. I instantly felt connected to the players, and I told myself: this is truly worthwhile."

"Simon Rattle is a huge artistic asset for the Czech Philharmonic," said David Mareček, the orchestra's CEO. "Besides Czech music, he will work with the orchestra on Haydn, Schumann, Elgar, and French composers. I think that will greatly expand our repertoire and grow the orchestra’s artistic potential."

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