Britain’s superstar conductor Sir Simon Rattle returned to his homeland in September, after fifteen years leading the Berliner Philharmoniker to take up the Musical Directorship of the London Symphony Orchestra and Artist-In-Residence at the Barbican and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. To mark his inaugural season the LSO presented a 10-day celebratory Festival THIS IS RATTLE. Guardian critic Andrew Clements said it was an ‘auspicious start to LSO’s new era of Simon Rattle,’ awarding the opening concert five-stars. I dropped off this sketch at the Orchestra’s HQ on the 6th floor in the Barbican last month and he kindly signed and returned it for me.
If you search any list of the greatest conductors of all time, Marin Alsop appears on most, if not all of them. The American ‘batonist’, violinist and Bernstein protege was the first female to become a principal conductor of a major orchestra – the Baltimore Symphony, where she is still musical director. She also holds the same position with the Sao Paulo State symphony orchestra. In the UK she has been involved with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the City of London Sinfonia.
She was also with the Bournemouth Symphony from 2002-2008. Marin became the first woman to conduct the Last Night at the Proms in 2003. She is the recipient of many awards, including the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship – the only conductor to do so and the only classical musician to be included in The Guardian’s Top 100 Women list. On a less elevated level she is the first conductor I have drawn.
I drew this very quick two-minute sketch to capture the energy of her performance, which she signed for me at the Royal Festival Hall in London last Friday evening, after she conducted the European Union Youth Orchestra.