Sir Simon Rattle to leave Berlin Philharmonic in 2018

The Principal Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, Sir Simon Rattle, is to step down from his position in 2018, it has been announced.

Sir Simon Rattle

Sir Simon Rattle, Principal Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, is to step down from his position in 2018, he has revealed in a statement sent by the orchestra.

In the statement, he said: "I will then be nearly 64. As a Liverpudlian, I cannot celebrate this special birthday without asking the Beatles’ question: 'Will you still need me when I’m 64?'"

Rattle was first appointed as Principal Conductor in 2002 after being elected by the orchestra itself. The orchestra then elected to renew Rattle's contract until 2018 in 2009. Previously, Rattle was the Principal Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

The decision was met with regret from the orchestra's executive board, who commented on Rattle's "sympathetic and respectful artistic and human collaboration".