I’ve never met conductor Simon Rattle, but I did find myself standing within 2 metres of the great man today on my way into Barbican Music Library.
It was an incredibly exciting moment. My heart raced a bit. I was in danger of going a bit fan-boyish. I didn’t, obviously. I’m not completely unprofessional.
There’s an exhibition of artefacts from his career just inside the Barbican Music Library – part of the ‘This is Rattle’ series at Barbican which starts tomorrow.
In amongst all sorts of knick-knacks, I was amazed to discover he secured his Grade 1 Violin at the age of 11 (this is his ABRSM report sheet below – it was a distinction, inevitably). He debuted at the BBC Proms 11 years later.
Nearly bumping into him today took me by surprise. There is an excitement in the air ahead of his return to the London Symphony Orchestra, and its palpable.
It feels like there’s a tremendous sense of hope pinned on his stewardship, not just for the already brilliant London Symphony Orchestra, but also for classical music in the UK in general. He is an electrifying force to be around.
I didn’t really expect to feel the way I did when I saw him. As I reflect on it more, I’ve no idea what my sense of hope is based on nor where the need originates from especially. But I can’t deny that the beginning of the ‘This is Rattle’ series tomorrow is an exciting prospect.
That experience of is how I remember the beginning of the Proms season back when I joined the BBC in 2005. And I cannot remember the last time over the past 15 years when I’ve experienced it since. That’s some force Mr Rattle has.