Sir Simon Rattle returns for London residency

Sir Simon Rattle Sir Simon will step down as chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic in 2018

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Sir Simon Rattle will be returning to London with the Berlin Philharmonic for a major residency in 2015.

The Barbican and the Southbank Centre have joined forces to host the week-long February residency featuring concerts in the Barbican Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Royal Festival Hall.

It follows the orchestra's successful series of London concerts in 2011.

Sir Simon will step down as chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 2018.

To mark his 60th birthday, which takes place in January 2015, Sir Simon has chosen music that has a special significance for him, including 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.

Violinist Leonidas Kavakos, who won the Sibelius violin competition as a teenager in 1985, joins the orchestra for Sibelius's Violin Concerto on 11 February at the Barbican.

Southbank Centre's concerts will feature two performances in the Royal Festival Hall of Mahler's Resurrection Symphony with soloists Kate Royal (soprano) and Magdalena Kozena (mezzo-soprano), Sir Simon's wife.

The orchestra will be accompanied by the London Symphony Chorus and City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus.

Inspiration

"Coming to London with the Berliner Philharmoniker feels like a homecoming, especially because we are performing repertoire that I love," said Sir Simon.

"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."

In addition to these performances there will also be a family concert, forming part of Southbank Centre's annual Imagine Children's Festival.

Tickets go on sale to Barbican and Southbank Centre members on 9 December and to the general public on 11 December.

"I am thrilled that our friends at Southbank Centre and the Barbican are again working together to invite us to London," said Sir Simon.

"We will celebrate great music, a great orchestra, and the great work that these cultural centres do in bringing music to the next generation."

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