Simon Rattle

Wolf Prize Laureate in Music 2012

Sir Simon Denis Rattle


Award citation:

“for being a leading international figure among the conductors of our time. His worldwide reputation as a perfectionist in performing a wide range of musical works is highly appreciated by those who played under his baton, as well as various audiences around the world”.


Prize share:

Simon Rattle

Placido Domingo


Simon Rattle (born in 1955, in Liverpool) is a British-German conductor, best noted for his work with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, and London Symphony Orchestra, and with the orchestral works of Mahler, Beethoven, and Sibelius. Rattle has in fact conducted a wide range of repertoire, showing a particular affinity for adventurous orchestral work from the 20th century – by composers such as Bartók, Stravinsky and Szymanowski.

As a child, Rattle learned the piano and violin and played percussion for the Merseyside Youth Orchestra. At 16 years old, in 1971, he entered the Royal Academy of Music.

In 1974, he was made assistant conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. He joined the Glyndebourne music staff at the age of 20 in 1975. He went on to conduct over 200 performances of 13 different operas at Glyndebourne and on tour during the subsequent 28 years.

At the age of 21, in 1976, Rattle made his first Prom at the Royal Albert Hall, conducting the London Sinfonietta in August 1976, with a programme including the première of Harrison Birtwistle’s Meridian and Arnold Schoenberg’s First Chamber Symphony.

In 1977, he became assistant conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

From 1980 to 1998, Rattle was Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and was appointed Music Director in 1990. He moved to Berlin in 2002 and held the positions of Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker.


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