'Simon Rattle: From Birmingham to Berlin,' by Nicholas Kenyon
'Simon Rattle: From Birmingham to Berlin,' by Nicholas Kenyon (Faber and Faber, 2002, $30)
As one of the most charismatic, and outspoken, figures in the classical music world, Sir Simon Rattle was honored last December as Musician of the Year at a lavish Carnegie Hall ceremony. This new biography, from music critic Nicholas Kenyon of the New Yorker and the Times of London, chronicles the celebrated conductor's seemingly tireless trek from Liverpool schoolboy to his recent appointment as music director of the Berlin Philharmonic. Along the way, Rattle has lived up to his name, shaking up the status quo and challenging the music community to reinvent itself. "The repertory is in a terrible state," Rattle told Kenyon. "Most conductors, with the exception of someone like Esa-Pekka Salonen, aren't really committed to new music. . . . That's the most dangerous thing for our music culture."