It’s turning out to be a stellar year for Sir Simon Rattle, who has landed his second major appointment of 2015 – this time as artist-in-association at the Barbican Centre and Guildhall School of Music. The 60-year-old conductor was announced as the next music director of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) back in March, a position he will hold concurrently with this newly created role from the 2017-18 season onwards.
‘It is a natural extension of all Sir Simon’s aspirations for his relationship with the LSO that this should include the creative organisations who are at the heart of the City of London’s developing cultural hub,’ commented Barbican managing director Sir Nicholas Kenyon.
As artist-in-association, Rattle will be responsible for developing cross-arts collaborations and working on one-off special projects for the three institutions.
‘I am thrilled to become involved with this pioneering collaboration between a world-class orchestra, arts centre and conservatoire at the heart of one of the world’s great cultural cities,’ said Rattle, ‘It gives us the chance to develop a unique offer of inspiring music for a new generation.’
While Rattle himself will have some scope to dictate the details of the role, a number of initiatives have already been outlined. These include a series of commissions for Rattle and the LSO from the Barbican; regular side-by-side projects by the LSO and Guildhall, where students and LSO practice and perform together; and an annual series of semi-staged operas mounted jointly by Barbican and LSO, with Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande slated as the first in January 2016.
Rattle recently conducted his first concert with the LSO since the announcement of his appointment, in a performance on 2 July that included Brahms’ Piano Concerto No 1 and Dvořák’s The Wild Dove, Slavonic Dance No 4 and The Golden Spinning Wheel.