THE FIRST TELEVISION BIOGRAPHY FOR 15 YEARS, REDISCOVERED RECORDINGS AND A SERIES OF LIVE CONCERT BROADCASTS

A major new BBC Two documentary, Simon Rattle: The Making of a Maestro, the first television biography of the British conductor for 15 years, charts Rattle’s career through the lens of new and archive footage and an in-depth interview with the maestro himself (Saturday 14 February). An extended version of Rattle’s interview will also be available on BBC Arts Online (bbc.co.uk/arts).

BBC Radio 3 and BBC Four broadcast Rattle’s major London Residency with the Berliner Philharmoniker at the Barbican and Southbank Centre in February 2015. The Residency is showcased by BBC Radio 3’s Live in Concert (Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 & Saturday 14 February) and a BBC Four broadcast from the Barbican (Sunday 15 February) as part of the BBC Arts initiative to bring significant cultural events from the greatest cultural venues to its audiences. Additional content will also be available on BBC iPlayer.

BBC Radio 3 broadcasts previously unheard recordings of Rattle conducting his first ever Beethoven symphony cycle in 1995 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in Frankfurt (Monday 19 - Friday 23 January).

BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC Radio 3 mark the 60th birthday of Sir Simon Rattle, one of Britain’s best-loved and arguably one of the world’s greatest living conductors, with a month of special programming across January and February 2015.

A major new BBC Two documentary Simon Rattle: The Making of a Maestro (Saturday 14 February), the first television biography of the British conductor for 15 years, charts Rattle’s formidable career spanning four decades through the lens of new and archive footage and an in-depth interview with the maestro himself. The documentary follows the Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Berliner Philharmoniker for a year, gaining unrivalled insights and access into the life of a world-leading conductor, observing Rattle in rehearsals and performance with five different orchestras, and exploring what makes and drives a great conductor. From his early days with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the tender age of 22 to becoming a household name whose dynamic leadership of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is said to have inspired the rebuilding of a city, Simon Rattle: The Making of a Maestro follows a remarkable journey. It shows Rattle talking candidly about his life and beliefs with contributions from artists and friends who have worked closely with him including violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, composer Thomas Adès, singers Roderick Williams, Mark Padmore, director Peter Sellars and Managing Director of the Barbican, Sir Nicholas Kenyon. BBC Arts Online (bbc.co.uk/arts) will also feature an extended interview with Rattle drawn from the documentary, and a film archive collection which charts Rattle's career as documented by the BBC and his significant creative commitment to television as a medium for drawing a new audience to classical music.

BBC Radio 3 and BBC Four broadcast Rattle’s upcoming major London Residency with the Berliner Philharmoniker at the Barbican and Southbank Centre in February 2015. BBC Radio 3’s Live in Concert broadcasts Rattle conducting the complete Sibelius symphony cycle in the 150th anniversary year of the composer’s birth (Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11 & Thursday 12 February – Barbican), Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 ‘Resurrection’ and Helmut Lachenmann’s Tableau (Saturday 14 February – Southbank Centre). As part of the BBC Arts initiative to bring significant cultural events from the greatest cultural venues to audiences, presenter Kirsty Wark hosts a BBC Four broadcast of Rattle conducting Sibelius’ Symphonies 5, 6 & 7 (recorded at the Barbican on 12 February) on Sunday 15 February, and Sibelius’s Symphonies 1, 2, 3 & 4 (recorded at the Barbican on 10 & 11 February) will be available on BBC iPlayer.

Previously unheard archive recordings of Rattle conducting the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra twenty years ago are broadcast for the first time on BBC Radio 3 across Rattle’s birthday week (Monday 19 – Friday 23 January). Listeners will be the first to hear the recordings when they are broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s In Concert, presented by Tom Service. Recorded over five days at the Alte Oper Frankfurt in the autumn of 1995, listeners have the opportunity to hear Rattle conducting his first ever Beethoven symphony cycle with the orchestra he led for eighteen years. A unique record of one of the great partnerships between conductor and orchestra in British music, the recordings also include Beethoven’s Overture to Fidelio, his Leonore Overtures No.’s 1 & 2 and the Funeral March for Leonore Prohaska.

Other highlights include BBC Radio 3’s Essential Classics featuring Rattle as its Artist of the Week (Monday 19 – Friday 23 January) and BBC Radio 3’s Through the Night offers the chance to listen again to Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker presenting Peter Sellars’ staging of Bach's St Matthew Passion for the first time in the UK at the BBC Proms 2014 (Sunday 18 January).

Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor, BBC Four, says: “With definitive biography on BBC TWO, and brilliant performances on both BBC FOUR and Radio 3, this will be a fitting testament to one of the UK’s greatest musical talents. I’m delighted that we’re able to celebrate Sir Simon’s life and achievements across so many BBC channels and services.”

Emma Bloxham, Editor, BBC Radio 3, says: “As the home of classical music, BBC Radio 3 will offer some unique insights into Rattle’s development as an artist, and the programming represents a feast of music-making of the very highest quality. We will bring Radio 3 listeners the opportunity to not only hear Rattle live with two of the world’s greatest orchestras, the LSO and the Berliner Philharmoniker, but also recorded in the wonderful Beethoven cycle with the CBSO.”

Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director, Barbican Centre, says: “Sir Simon Rattle has been one of our most inspirational musicians for so long that it is a shock to realise he is reaching sixty! His energy and his musical leadership are stronger than ever, and we are delighted to be welcoming him back to the Barbican with both the LSO and the Berliner Philharmoniker. It is great that the BBC, with its renewed commitment to the arts, is marking the occasion so fully across its networks and relaying the concerts from the Barbican Centre during The London Residency 2015.”

 

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