Rattle: the exhibition

To celebrate Sir Simon Rattle's arrival as LSO Music Director in September we have put together an exhibition of photos and memorabilia covering his musical life to date, with contributions from his family archives, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Barbican and the LSO.

The exhibition is located in the Barbican Music Library on Level 2 of the Barbican Centre, and is open from Thursday 14 September until 22 December 2017. It is free to attend.

> More info and opening times

Sir Simon's career is vast, and there was much more detail available than we were able to include, and if you've been to the exhibition you'll have seen tags pointing you here for full lists. So: here they are!


1955 Born Liverpool

Baby Simon

1964 (Aged 9) Attended performance of Mahler Symphony No 8 with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO) and Charles Groves in Liverpool Cathedral

1965 (Aged 10) Joined Merseyside Youth Orchestra (MYO) as Percussionist

Young Simon2

1971 (Aged 15) Joined National Youth Orchestra

1971 (Aged 16) Enrolled at Royal Academy of Music (RAM)

1972 (Aged 17) Conducted MYO as part of the International Festival of Youth Orchestras, Lausanne

1973 (Aged 18) Started as Principal Conductor Merseyside Youth Orchestra

1973 Conducted Mahler Symphony No 2 with RAM students and others

1974 (Aged 19) Won the John Player International Conductors Competition and becomes the Assistant Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonietta

1974 1 June Conducted MYO in Birmingham Town Hall including Stravinsky The Rite of Spring

1975 (Aged 20) May First Concert with RLPO (Sibelius Symphony No 5)

1975 Debut at Glyndebourne (Stravinsky The Rake’s Progress)

1976 (Aged 21) Started as Assistant Conductor BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

1976 Debut at BBC Proms (London Sinfonietta)

1976 Debut at Royal Festival Hall (Philharmonia Orchestra)

1976 First concert with City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in Oxford (English Bach Festival)

1976 North American debut, conducting London Schools Symphony at Hollywood Bowl

1977 (Aged 22) First UK professional performance of Gershwin Porgy and Bess with RLPO

1977 Started as Associate Conductor of RLPO

1977 First recording with London Symphony Orchestra (with Andrei Gavrilov)

1978 First Concert with CBSO in Birmingham Town Hall

1978 (Aged 24) Debut with Rotterdam Philharmonic

1979 Debut with Los Angeles Philharmonic

1980 (Aged 25) Started as Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser of CBSO and Sabbatical Year at the University of Oxford

1981–1984 Artistic Director of South Bank Summer Music

1981–1994 Principal Guest Conductor of Los Angeles Philharmonic

1982 (Aged 27) Appointment of Simon Halsey as Chorus Director CBSO (the beginning of a 37-year partnership with CBSO and BPO which continues in the future with the LSO)

RattleHalsey 152x100mm

1985 (Aged 30) Tour to Japan with Philharmonia

1986 (Aged 31) Festival of French Music with Philharmonia Orchestra (“Aprés L’Aprés-Midi”)

1987 (Aged 32) Created CBE

1987 First of 4 Tours of Japan and Far East with CBSO

1987 Founding Artistic Director of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG)


1987 Debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO)

1988 (Aged 33) First of 3 Tours to the USA with CBSO

1989 (Aged 34) Named first President of Birmingham Conservatoire

1990 (Aged 35) Debut at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Janačék The Cunning Little Vixen)


1991 (Aged 36) Beginning of ten-year-long Towards the Millennium Festival in Birmingham, London, Cardiff and Vienna

1991 Honorary Fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford

1991 Opening of Symphony Hall Birmingham

 Simon buildingSymphonyHall

1991 Honorary Doctorate of Music University of Liverpool

1992 (37) Association of British Orchestra’s Annual Award

1992 Started as Principal Guest Conductor Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

1993 (38) Debut with Philadelphia Orchestra

1993 Debut with Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

1994 (39) Created Knight Bachelor

1996 (41) Honorary Doctorate of Music University of Birmingham

1996 Awarded the Shakespeare Prize by the Toepfer Foundation in Hamburg

1997 (42) First Tour of South America with CBSO

1997 Awarded the Albert Medal by the Royal Society of Arts

1998 (43) Freedom of the City of Birmingham

1998 End of 18 years as Music Director of CBSO

1999 (44) Honorary Doctor of Music University of Oxford

1999 Salzburg Festival Opera Debut (Rameau Les Boréades)

2000 (45) Music Director of Ojai Music Festival

2000 Awarded Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society

2002 (47) Started as Music Director Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra


2003 (48) First of 8 tours to Japan and Far East with BPO

2004 (49) Rhythm Is It! (The Rite of Spring) documentary released

2005 (50) Debut at Wiener Staatsoper (Wagner Parsifal)

2005 Awarded the Schiller Special Prize by the City of Mannheim

2007 (52) Begins Salzburg Ring Cycle (until 2010)

2007 Awarded the Urania Medal

2007 Awarded the German Children’s Prize


2007 Together with the Berlin Philharmonic appointed as international UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors in New York

2008 (53) Freedom of the City of Liverpool

2009 (54) Awarded the Spanish Premio Don Juan de Borbón de la Música in Segovia

2009 Awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany by President Horst Köhler

2010 (55) Debut at Metropolitan Opera New York (Debussy Pelléas et Mélisande)

2010 Awarded a knighthood in the French Legion of Honour

2011 (56) Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts

2011 Honorary Doctorate Royal Academy of Music

2012 (57) Conducted the London Symphony Orchestra at the Opening of the London Olympics

2013 (58) Awarded the Léonie Sonning Music Prize

2014 (59) Appointed Member of the Order of Merit

2017 (62) Started as Music Director London Symphony Orchestra


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