BBC to feature Sir Simon Rattle at 60

BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC Radio 3 are set to mark the 60th birthday celebrations of famed conductor Sir Simon Rattle with a special series of programmes during January and February 2015.

BBC Two will host the first in-depth TV biography of the maestro for 15 years, featuring an in-depth interview and career retrospective on 14 February. The documentary is the result of filmmakers having followed the Berliner Philharmoniker chief conductor and artistic director for a year, gaining insight and access to Rattle in rehearsals and performances with five different orchestras.

The programme coincides with the conductor’s upcoming London residency at the Barbican and Southbank Centre, which will be showcased by BBC Radio 3’s Live in Concert series on 10-14 February. The residency will also be marked by a BBC Four broadcast from the Barbican on 15 February, with additional content available through BBC iPlayer and BBC Arts Online.

The Live in Concert sessions will feature the complete Sibelius symphony cycle in the 150th anniversary year of the composer’s birth (10-12 February), as well as Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 Resurrection and Helmut Lachenmann’s Tableau (14 February).

In addition, BBC Radio 3 will present a previously unaired Frankfurt recording of Rattle conducting his first ever Beethoven symphony cycle, captured in 1995 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (19-23 January).

Cassian Harrison, BBC Four channel editor, said: ‘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.’

Barbican managing director Sir Nicholas Kenyon added: ‘We are delighted to be welcoming Sir Simon Rattle 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.’