Sir Simon Rattle conducts Mahler and Adès

The start of a new era: inaugural concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker, 2002

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Program notes

With ten minutes of standing ovations, thrown bouquets, and cries of acclaim, Sir Simon Rattle debuted as Chief Conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker at the 2002 New Year’s Gala. As he would so often do during his time in Berlin, Rattle found a way to bring tradition and innovation into perfect harmony, here juxtaposing Mahler's epic Fifth Symphony with a contemporary piece by the young Thomas Adès, a talent regularly championed by Rattle who has gone on to be one of the 21st century’s most successful composers.

At the end of Mahler's Fifth, the audience erupted into applause for the conductor, calling him back five times to bow. The new Chief Conductor made his memorable entrance with the sharpness of tone, uncanny sense of structure, and seemingly effortless entente that would be the hallmarks of one of the most fruitful conductor-ensemble collaborations in classical music history: a remarkable 16-year tenure that began on this magical evening.

A closer look: featured composers

Further listening: featured works

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