Berlin Philharmonic/Rattle farewell tour - a hard act to follow


When British prime ministers lose an election, they are generally out of 10 Downing Street the next day. An American president stays on for two to three months between the election result and inauguration day. Contrast that with the world of classical music. It was January 2013 when Simon Rattle announced he would be leaving the Berliner Philharmoniker and he still has not gone yet.

For the next 10 days Rattle and the orchestra are on a farewell tour of major European cities. That will be followed at the end of August by his successor, Kirill Petrenko, making an inauguration lap of honour, including to the BBC Proms.

In the 16 years of his reign in Berlin, Rattle has stamped his personality on the orchestra. There have been education projects, semi-staged concerts and a widening of the repertoire, taking in a catholic selection of contemporary composers. Perhaps his innovations have themselves started to seem predictable to some in Berlin, but the high profile he has won for himself and the orchestra will be a hard act to follow.