Sir Simon RattleThe Barbican Centre and Southbank Centre have revealed that they are bringing Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker to London for a major residency in February of 2015.  

Following the great success of the orchestra’s London concerts series in 2011, the week-long residency will feature performances in the Barbican Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Royal Festival Hall. It will bring the two arts centres together in a series of concerts and in creative learning work with young people from a number of London boroughs, both north and south of the river Thames.

Sir Simon Rattle has chosen to mark his 60th birthday with this London residency, choosing music that has a special significance for him: a complete cycle of Sibelius’s seven symphonies in honour of the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and music by pioneering German composer Helmut Lachenmann. The residency is also a celebration of the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle, one of classical music’s most outstanding artistic partnerships, and a showcase of one of the world’s greatest orchestras.

Southbank Centre’s concerts feature two performances in the Royal Festival Hall of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection) with soloists Kate Royal (soprano) and Magdalena Kožená (mezzo-soprano); and the London Symphony Chorus and City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus. Known as a signature work of Rattle’s, the symphony will be performed alongside Helmut Lachenmann’s Tableau in a juxtaposition of old and new sound-worlds that has typified Rattle’s tenure in Berlin. In addition to these performances there will also be: a family concert as part of Southbank Centre’s annual Imagine Children’s Festival, sponsored by The Book People, featuring the 12 Cellists of the Berliner Philharmoniker and a chamber performance in the Queen Elizabeth Hall by The Philharmonic Octet Berlin when the group will perform Nielsen’s Serenata in vano, Berwald’s Septet and Schubert’s Octet.

Coming to London with the Berliner Philharmoniker feels like a homecoming, especially because we are performing repertoire that I love: Sibelius, Mahler and Lachenmann. I first heard Mahler’s second symphony aged 11 in Liverpool, and it inspired me to become a conductor.

This work was premiered by the Berliner Philharmoniker in 1895 and is at the heart of what this orchestra loves to perform. Sibelius’ music is not frequently performed in Germany, and it is perhaps surprising that the rich, broad sounds of Sibelius really suit this orchestra – come and hear for yourself! I am thrilled that our friends at Southbank Centre and the Barbican are again working together to invite us to London. We will celebrate great music, a great orchestra, and the great work that these cultural centres do in bringing music to the next generation. – Sir Simon Rattle

Tickets and full dates can be found at The residency is presented by the Barbican and Southbank Centre in association with Askonas Holt.

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