Presidents and Patrons

President: Sir Simon Rattle OM CBE

Black and white image of Simon Rattle conducting the LSO

Sir Simon Rattle was born in Liverpool and studied at the Royal Academy of Music.

From 1980 to 1998, Rattle was Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and was appointed Music Director in 1990. In 2002 he took up his current position of Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker  where he will remain until 2018. From 2017/2018 season he will become Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra.

Rattle has made over 70 recordings for EMI record label (now Warner Classics), and has received numerous prestigious international awards for his recordings on various labels.  Releases on EMI include Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms (which received the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance) Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Ravel L’enfant et les sortileges, Tchaikovsky Nutcracker, Mahler Symphony No. 2 and Bizet’s Carmen (August 2012). In April 2013 EMI released Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and in August 2013 Warner Classics released Rachmaninov The Bells and Symphonic Dances, all recorded with the Berliner Philharmoniker.  Rattle’s most recent releases (the Bach Passions and Schumann Symphonies) have been for Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings – the orchestra’s new in-house label, established in early 2014.

As well as fulfilling a taxing concert schedule in Berlin, Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker regularly tour within Europe, North America and Asia. The partnership has also broken new ground with the education programme Zukunft@Bphil, earning the Comenius Prize in 2004, the Schiller Special Prize from the city of Mannheim in May 2005, the Golden Camera and the Urania Medal in Spring 2007. He and the Berliner Philharmoniker were also appointed International UNICEF Ambassadors in the same year – the first time this honour has been conferred on an artistic ensemble.

In 2013 Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker took up a residency at the Baden-Baden Osterfestspiele performing Die Zauberflöte and a series of concerts. Past seasons have included Puccini’s Manon Lescaut and Peter Sellars’s ritualization of Bach’s St. John Passion, Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier and Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust. For the Salzburg Easter Festival Rattle conducted staged productions of Fidelio, Cosi fan tutte, Peter Grimes, Pelléas et Mélisande, Salome and Carmen, a concert performance of Idomeneo and many contrasting concert programmes, all with the Berliner Philharmoniker.  He also conducted Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle with the Berliner Philharmoniker for the Aix-en-Provence and Salzburg Easter Festivals and most recently at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin and the Wiener Staatsoper. Other recent productions include Pelléas et Mélisande and Les Dialogues des Carmelites for the Royal Opera House; L’Étoile, Aus einem Totenhaus and Káťa Kabanová for the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin; and Pelléas et Mélisande at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

Simon Rattle has strong longstanding relationships with the leading orchestras in London, Europe and the USA; initially working closely with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestras, and more recently with The Philadelphia Orchestra.  He regularly conducts the Vienna Philharmonic, with which he has recorded the complete Beethoven symphonies and piano concertos (with Alfred Brendel) and is also a Principal Artist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Founding Patron of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

His plans for the 15/16 season include the Beethoven Cycle with the Berliner Philharmoniker, with concerts in Europe and Carnegie Hall, New York; staged performances of Pelleas et Melisande with both the Berliner Philharmoniker and London Symphony Orchestra and a production of Tristan and Isolde at Baden Baden. Future engagements will see him and comprar priligy 30 mg return to the Bayerische Rundfunk, The Metropolitan Opera and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Simon Rattle was knighted in 1994 and in the New Year’s Honours of 2014 he received the Order of Merit from Her Majesty the Queen. He will be a Carnegie Hall ‘Perspectives’ artist through the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons.

Vice-President: Michael Tilson Thomas


Michael Tilson Thomas is Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, Founder and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. Born in Los Angeles, he is the third generation of his family to follow an artistic career.

Mr Tilson Thomas studied piano, conducting and composition at the University of Southern California and at the age of nineteen he was named Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra where he worked with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen and Copland on premieres of their compositions at Los Angeles’ Monday Evening Concerts. During this same period he was the pianist and conductor for Gregor Piatigorsky and Jascha Heifetz.

In 1969, after winning the Koussevitzky Prize at Tanglewood, he was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. That year he also made his New York debut with the Boston Symphony and gained international recognition after replacing Music Director William Steinberg in mid-concert. He was later appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra where he remained until 1974. He was Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic from 1971 to 1979 and a Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1981 to 1985.

In February 1988 he inaugurated the New World Symphony, an orchestral academy for graduates of prestigious music programs and, in the same year, he became Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra – a post he held until 1995. He now enjoys a Principal Guest conductor relationship with the LSO.

Mr Tilson Thomas became the Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra in 1995. This season celebrates his 20th anniversary with the orchestra. His tenure has been broadly covered by the international press with feature stories in Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Times of London and The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung among many others.

His recorded repertoire of more than 120 discs includes works by composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Mahler, Prokofiev and Stravinsky as well as his pioneering work with the music of Charles Ives, Carl Ruggles, Steve Reich, John Cage, Ingolf Dahl, Morton Feldman, George Gershwin, John McLaughlin and Elvis Costello. Most recently he completed the orchestral works of Gustav Mahler and Bernstein’s ‘West Side Story’, both with the San Francisco Symphony on their label, SFS Media.

Mr Tilson Thomas’s television work includes a series with the London Symphony Orchestra for BBC Television, the television broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts from 1971 to 1977 and numerous productions on PBS Great Performances. Mr Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony produced a multi-tiered media project, Keeping Score, which includes a television series, web sites, radio programs and programs in schools.

During the 2014 / 2015 season, Mr Tilson Thomas marks his 70th birthday with a European tour with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, a west coast tour of the USA with the London Symphony Orchestra, appearances in Carnegie Hall and Washington DC with the New World Symphony, and concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Mr. Tilson Thomas is a Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France, was Musical America’s Musician of the Year and Conductor of the Year, Gramophone Magazine’s Artist of the Year and has been profiled on CBS’s 60 Minutes and ABC’s Nightline. He has won eleven Grammy Awards for his recordings. In 2008 he received the Peabody Award for his radio series for SFS Media, The MTT Files. In 2010, President Obama awarded him with the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the United States.

Patron: Simon Russell Beale CBE

S R Beale b&w

Simon Russell Beale is an actor at the top of his profession with a strong musical background and his biography follows.

Simon was born in Penang, Malalysia. He became a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral, then went to Clifton College before going to Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, where he received a First in English. Simon was made a CBE in The Queen’s 2003 Birthday Honours List for his services to the arts. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, an Honorary Fellow of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, and of the British Institute of Psychoanalysis. He holds honorary doctorates from Warwick University and City University, London. He is an associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre.

Theatre includes: for the RSC, Konstantin in The Seagull, Ariel in The Tempest, Edgar in King Lear, Oswald in Ghosts, Edward II and Richard II. NT: Iago in Othello, Mosca in Volpone, Guildenstern in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Alfred Evelyn in Money, Hamlet (Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards), the lead in Humble Boy (also West End), George in Jumpers (also West End and Broadway), Candide (Olivier Award), Face in The Alchemist, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, Undershaft in Major Barbara, Edward in A Slight Ache, Sir Harcourt Courtly in London Assurance. Also, Vanya in Uncle Vanya and Malvolio in Twelfth Night (Donmar Warehouse and Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York – Olivier and Evening Standard Awards as well as a Village Voice Obie) and King Arthur in Spamalot (Broadway and West End). Simon was part of Sam Mendes’s first British/American theatre company, the Bridge Project, and appeared in A Winter’s Tale and The Cherry Orchard at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, on an international tour, at the old Vic and finally at Epidaurus, throughout 2009. Simon more recently gave a highly acclaimed performance as “King Lear” at the National Theatre.

He is Cameron Mackintosh Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University 2015.

Television includes: A Dance to the Music of Time (Royal Television Society and BAFTA Awards), Persuasion, The Young Visitors, Dunkirk and Spooks. He has also presented two series and a Christmas Special of Sacred Music for BBC4.

Radio includes: George Smiley in The Complete Smiley (BBC Radio 4).

Patron: Howard Goodall CBE


Howard Goodall’s first West End musical, The Hired Man, based on Melvyn Bragg’s book, opened in 1984, when he was 24. It has since been performed all over the world and won many international awards. It was followed in 1987 by Girlfriends, Days of Hope (1990), Silas Marner (1993), The Kissing-Dance (1998), the dreaming (2001) (both written with Charles Hart for the NYMT), A Winter’s Tale (2005), Two Cities (2006), and in 2010, Love Story, which recently completed tours in the Netherlands and the Russian Federation.

As well as writing musicals, Howard has composed some of the best-known TV theme tunes of the last 30 years, including Mr Bean, Blackadder, Red Dwarf, Q.I. and The Vicar of Dibley. His score for the HBO film Into the Storm won him a Primetime EMMY award for Original Dramatic Score in 2009.

His music has been commissioned to mark many national ceremonies and memorials and his choral works Psalm 23 and Love divine are amongst the most performed of all sacred music, featuring on several platinum-selling CDs. His Eternal Light: A Requiem has had over 400 live performances throughout the world since its première in 2008 and won him a Classical BRIT Award for Composer of the Year. His 2009 Enchanted Voices, a setting of the Beatitudes, was no.1 in the Specialist Classical CD chart for 6 months, winning him a Gramophone award. In June 2012 his Rigaudon formed part of the New Water Music that accompanied Queen Elizabeth II on her Diamond Jubilee Regatta and he was musically responsible for Rowan Atkinson’s memorable performance at the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. On 4th August 2014 his choral work Sure of the Sky-Des Himmels sicher, specially commissioned for the occasion, was performed by an Anglo-German choir at the St Symphorien Military Cemetery to mark the start of the First World War.

For the past 15 years he has written and presented his own TV documentary series on the theory and history of music. For these he has been honoured with a BAFTA, an RTS Judges’ Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Education in Broadcasting and over a dozen other international broadcast awards. In recent years he has been England’s first ever National Ambassador for Singing and Classic FM’s Composer-in-Residence. He was appointed CBE in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to music education. He lives in West London and is married to music agent Val Fancourt.


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