Sir Simon Rattle has been appointed as the new Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic, starting from the commencement of the 2024/25 season.
Rattle's formal involvement with the orchestra commenced when he and his wife, soprano Magdalena Kožená, were designated as Artists in Residence for the 2022/23 season.
From 2002 to 2018, Rattle served as the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Prior to this tenure, he led the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra as Chief Conductor for 18 years.
Additionally, he holds the title of Conductor Emeritus of the London Symphony Orchestra, having served as its Music Director from 2017 to 2023.
“My connection with the Czech Philharmonic traces back to my childhood when I was around eight or nine years old," remarked Rattle. "My parents provided me with allowance to purchase recordings, and I delved into the Supraphon catalogue...that was when I recognized the distinctiveness of the orchestra's sound, particularly the character of the woodwinds and the exceptional quality of the strings. It felt like I had grown alongside the Czech Philharmonic."
"However, it took many years before I had the opportunity to conduct that orchestra for the first time. When it finally occurred in 2019, it felt remarkably natural to me, as if I had been standing before them for ages. I was captivated by their warmth and their uniquely Czech dark humor. I immediately felt a bond with the musicians, and I thought to myself: this is truly meaningful."
"Simon Rattle is an immense artistic asset for the Czech Philharmonic," remarked David Mareček, the orchestra's CEO. "In addition to Czech repertoire, he will collaborate with the orchestra on works by Haydn, Schumann, Elgar, and French composers. I believe this will significantly broaden our repertoire and enhance the orchestra’s artistic capabilities."