“My kids are completely fascinated by football. On my holiday now my twelve-year-old was on the internet every morning just looking to see what’s going to happen with Coutinho. So I’ve been very much more involved with the Liverpool Football Club these three weeks than I have been for the last three years. I must say the conductor’s job is stressful and on the line, but if you compare it to a football manager, we are just amateurs. And I’ve had the experience over the time of players wanting to leave and go to another orchestra but I have never had to turn down £72m for any of them.

“But there is a sense in which a football manager and a conductor have similarities because, what is it we do, actually? Jürgen Klopp doesn’t kick the ball any more than I play the violin, although he can probably kick the ball a lot better than I play the violin, particularly these days. But there is, in a way, where you are trying to give people the possibility to do their best, and people at different times in their careers, the idea that you are helping people to work together, you’re finding the way in which people work the best together, and what you may feel is the best way for something to be done isn’t necessarily the best way that works for players.

“Every conductor starts off trying to tell orchestral musicians how to play their instruments and you learn very quickly that that doesn’t help. You have to find what it is that will make them sound the best, what will make them the most inspired, what will help them to do their job better. It was Karajan [who] used to say, you are the rider, not the horse, and don’t forget it for one minute.”

  • Sir Simon Rattle was speaking to Suzy Klein on Essential Classics on BBC Radio 3
  • The above transcript is printed by invitation of the BBC


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