Simon Rattle has announced he will leave his role as music director of London Symphony Orchestra to become music director at Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Rattle will remain in London until 2023, having signed a one-year contract extension. After that he will hold the lifetime title of music director emeritus.
Some have speculated that the lack of progress on a new concert hall for London has led to Rattle leaving – although he himself has always denied that this was a precondition for his move to LSO.
“My reasons for accepting the role of principal conductor in Munich are entirely personal, enabling me to better manage the balance of my work and be close enough to home to be present for my children in a meaningful way,” said Rattle. “I love the London Symphony Orchestra.”
Rattle currently lives in Berlin with his family.
“Sir Simon will be taking forward a number of significant projects with us over the coming years, working from our home base at the Barbican,” said LSO managing director Kathryn McDowell and chair David Alberman in a joint statement. “These include a cycle of Janáček operas, a number of ambitious new commissions and his continued work with young people on our East London music education programmes.”
LSO will now begin a search for his replacement. Early favourites for the role include Mirga Gražinytė-Tylam, Antonio Pappano and Gianandrea Noseda.