An interview with Simon Rattle’s boss

An interview with Simon Rattle’s boss


norman lebrecht

September 21, 2017

Gareth Davies, chairman of the LSO: ‘We’re self-employed, so if we don’t work we don’t get paid. So we do work a lot.’


  • Anon says:

    Stopped watching after 20 sec. in.
    oh, that kind of “interview”.
    with lots of nonsense visual candy.
    Makes it hard to even listen to what he still has to say, despite the teenager attitude of the “girls”.
    Which morons think this is the way to do and film interviews?

    • Adrienne says:

      “Which morons think this is the way to do and film interviews?”

      Not justifying it, but the fear of appearing elitist or stuffy is largely to blame IMO.

      A little more gravitas would be welcome in many areas, including the BBC.

      • Anon says:

        I can see that, but in my experience this is a lose-lose approach.
        You do not interest anyone by FORMAT, who wasn’t interested in the CONTENT to begin with. But you can frustrate a lot of people who are interested in the CONTENT by using a FORMAT that is shallow, not supporting the content and aesthetically misconceived.

        Now how do you make the 3-seconds-attention-span crowd interested in this? That’s the Holy Grail of how to engage younger people. I guess not much can be done to overcome that psychological conditioning. But I know you don’t catch them by making this look like MTV.

        You also don’t interest anyone in enjoying a gourmet cooking 5-course menu, by making it taste like a cheeseburger…

        • Adrienne says:

          “Now how do you make the 3-seconds-attention-span crowd interested in this?”

          I think once their attention span has shrunk to 3 seconds, classical music and many things besides, are probably a lost cause.

          You’re right about losing the core audience.

        • Petros Linardos says:

          How do you get young people interested? Start in childhood. Stop watching silly interviews, just have fun with music. Mostly singing, dancing, playing, and some listening. Make it part of life. It then comes as natural as a native language. That has been my experience as a parent.

          • Anon says:

            I agree. And no TV with only few exceptions. Moderate film consumption. No iPads as digital entertainers. Real conversations and real music. Parents as role models.
            Simple but apparently hard to do for too many.

          • Petros Linardos says:

            In principle I agree. However, online videoclips and the occasional DVD rendered TV obsolete for us.

  • Paul Wright says:

    I agree generally with all that has been said in previous comments. I was going to make the point that the particular context and target audience will to a considerable extent dictate the content and tone of any interview. But then I saw that the original source of this particular interview was not some teenage magazine, but Principal Chairs, which describes itself as ‘the leading website for orchestral audition preparation’, and therefore aimed at recent music college graduates. Has dumbing down really gone that far?

    • Iain Scott says:

      The real problem with this film is it’s not very good. Indeed it would fail the audition. It’s not a matter of dumbing down,or morons or other personal abuse it’s a case of people needing more respect for the people that make films and not thinking it’s easy.
      Ideally a few film makers should start playing in orchestras to hammer home the point-I mean any one can play the flute can’t they?

  • Wai kit leung says:

    How strange is it for Rattle to tell his “boss” what to do on a regular basis ….

    • Anon says:

      The situation is basically the same as in Berlin. He was hired by the orchestra. Then appointed Artistic Director. They are each other’s bosses. Balance of power, best case.

    • Robert Holmén says:

      As another example I’ll note that the Philip Glass Ensemble is conducted not by Philip Glass but by Michael Reisman. Glass performs in it but Reisman leads it.

      There probably are quite a few community orchestras where the governing board is musicians in the orchestra and not the conductor.

  • herrera says:

    One is not “self employed” if one is subsidized by the state, it’s called “welfare”.

    LSO is no more “self-employed” than the royal family is “self-employed”.

    • Adrienne says:

      Happy, now that you’ve got that in?

      If you really must be that cynical, the definition of “welfare” could be stretched to the armed forces, civil service, NHS etc. Receiving public money and doing valuable work are not mutually exclusive. An essential difference is that the LSO and other subsidised orchestras have to sell tickets and raise money privately.

    • John kelly says:

      …..firemen, policemen, FBI agents, CIA agents, TSA agents, lots of welfare around if that’s your ( incorrect) definition….

    • Maria says:

      If there is any “welfare” involved, it is for the concertgoers who would not otherwise be able to go, or go so frequently. The players operate in a market, and can move around within it, which doesn’t really sound like welfare to me.

      In reality, I think you’re distorting the meaning of the word to make a point which isn’t worth making. It says nothing new.

    • Anon says:

      LSO get peanuts, compared to the Welfare the banks got from all the governments to help them out of the banking crisis. Not that was some welfare, which the public will have to pay back for generations to come. Reliable sources speak of 17 TRILLION US $.

      Btw, you are wrong. Money the state pays for culture is not welfare. It’s money invested in the core interest of a society, its culture.
      Welfare is money received without giving service or goods back to society. The LSO gives plenty.

      • Geezer Butler says:

        Anon not everyone regards classical music as “culture” the great unwashed regard it as too posh to support. They would rather have Pop Tarts et al!

        • Anon says:

          Oh, I think the ‘unwashed’ very well know that it is culture, they just feel that it is not theirs. And that, the divide between popular mass culture and ‘high’ culture, fine art etc., that always existed as long as mankind exists.
          We tend to forget that, because little of the popular culture of the past survives, since nobody sees a need to preserve and protect it for the future.

          But maybe one day the Aliens land on planet Earth and sniff through the ruins of a past human civilization, maybe they find some Mickey Mouse films and will think we were very happy people after all.

        • Iain Scott says:

          Forgive me but if you are an example of the washed then let me glory in the great unwashed any day. Some of the posts in this thread-which is about a film-give succour to people who believe orchestral music is elitist. Any regular concert goer knows that concerts attract people from all walks of life. It may not be obvious but they do.

    • Bruce says:

      Do people buy tickets to see the royal family?

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    The LSO is not supported by the State. It is supported by the City of London and ticket prices are not expensive. Mind you goodness how much they are having to pay Rattle.

    • Anon says:

      Rattle probably gets about 10% or less of what an average CEO of a London City firm gets. And if we take into account what he gives back (together with the other musicians) it’s bottomline so much more value than what the financial parasites in the City give back to society.

      • Allen says:

        Financial services covers a wide range of endeavours in London, Leeds and Edinburgh, employing a lot of people. Applying ignorant, sweeping generalisations to finance or the arts is lazy and cheap, IMO.

        • Anon says:

          Exceptions apply, but in general the investment banking sector is of highly parasitic nature. Mankind would be much better off without.

          • herrera says:

            Yes, mankind is better off without investment bankers.

            Just ask the LSO.

            “Our corporate partners support every area of the LSO’s work. We are grateful for the partnership investment we receive from the leading companies who choose to work with us.

            Intesa SanPaolo Private Banking
            UBS (sued for Holocaust assets)
            British American Tobacco (a company that invests in your health)


          • Anon says:

            Non sequitur, if the investment bankers wouldn’t suck the money away from the real creators and producers, then ‘the good guys’ had more of it and had more dispensable money they could donate, also to the LSO.
            Of course if the devil has the money, and you need it, you make a pact…
            And it costs you…

  • A typical women-made video. I like it!

  • David Ward says:

    Well, I didn’t think it was so bad…

    Having read the dire comments above before watching it, I found myself pleasantly surprised and engaged by the whole thing.

  • Mark Henriksen says:

    This was a great interview; interesting in funny. I loved it!

  • Barbara says:

    Yes, I read the comments first and wondered how dreadful it was going to be. In fact I enjoyed it, relaxed style and funny. Does that make me one of the “unwashed”?

  • Mike_T says:

    Well I thought it was just fine. Now I’m off to have a quick swill in the bosh…