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Liverpool-born conductor Sir Simon Rattle begins his third season as music director of the London Symphony Orchestra this week. Under his inspirational leadership, the orchestra has confirmed its place as one of the world’s foremost ensembles, supporting new – and overlooked – composers, and bringing bold ideas and fresh insights to better-known works. Rattle has will open his 2019 season with an all-British programme, including a world premiere by young British composer Emily Howard. As well as new music, he is a passionate supporter of youth education and music (he once held the world record for the world’s largest orchestra, made up of nearly 4,000 school children). At the LSO, there are new initiatives such as the half-six fix – a shorter concert introduced by the conductor, and the launch of the East London Music Academy, an attempt to address the lack of diversity in London’s orchestras and choruses. In addition, some ambitious plans for a brand new world-class concert hall are becoming a reality, and many of the LSO’s concerts can now be watched free online.
But is all rosy? “[Had I known about Brexit at the time] I would have been extraordinarily wary [of taking the job] – but we will make the best of it we can,” Rattle said, in a 2017 interview. He was one of the signatories on an open letter last year warning the government that Brexit could bring Britain’s cultural industry to its knees. What does he make of things now? And what of the continuing crisis in music education, while the arts die by a thousand cuts? The conductor will be answering your questions live on Monday 16 September at 1.15pm. Post your questions now and join us on Monday.