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Friday, 6 September, 2002, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK
Sir Simon set to rattle Berlin
Sir Simon Rattle
Sir Simon Rattle is an international star
The long-awaited debut by Sir Simon Rattle as the chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra takes place on Saturday in the German capital.

Many music fans expect Sir Simon's tenure at the head of the world famous orchestra to usher in a new era.

When the 47-year-old was selected the city's culture minister said he hoped the conductor would give a new pulse to Berlin.

The Liverpool-born conductor has already promised to drop the "aloof and glamorous diva" status it had under the auspices of legendary conductor Herbert von Karajan.

He was chosen to succeed Italian Claudio Abbado three years ago and has spent recent months helping the orchestra organise its perilous finances.

Champion

"We have to offer something in return for our privileges," said the former head of the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), who was the first Briton appointed to the Berlin post and will have the role for at least 10 years.

He will champion a public education project in Berlin. His first programme of performances includes works by lesser known composers and more contemporary musicians.

For his first performance Sir Simon will conduct a pairing of Mahler's 5th Symphony with Asyla by UK composer Thomas Ades, which he premièred five years ago in Birmingham.

The Mahler performance, using a brand new critical edition of the work by conductor and musicologist Reinhold Kubik, will be released as a CD at the end of the month to coincide with the orchestra's short tour of Europe.

Sir Simon has said he was to "become part of this city and help shape it".

His tenure with the BSO as well as his numerous recordings have made him a star in the classical world.

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