Sir Simon Denis Rattle (born 19 January 1955), is an English conductor. He rose to international prominence during the 1980s and 1990s as conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and since 2002 has been principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic (BPO).
Rattle was born in Liverpool, the son of Pauline Lila Violet (Greening) and Denis Guttridge Rattle, a Commander in the Royal Navy. He was educated at Liverpool College. Although Rattle studied piano and violin, his early work with orchestras was as a percussionist. He entered the Royal Academy of Music, University of London, in 1971. There, his teachers included John Carewe. In 1974, his graduation year, Rattle won the John Player International Conducting Competition. After organising and conducting a performance of Mahler's Second Symphony whilst still at the Academy, he was talent-spotted by the music agent Martin Campbell-White, of Harold Holt Ltd (now Askonas Holt Ltd), who has since managed Rattle's career. He spent the academic year 1980/81 at St Anne's College, Oxford studying English Language and Literature. He had been attracted to the college by the reputation of Dorothy Bednarowska, Fellow and Tutor in English. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of St Anne's in 1991. He was admitted to the degree of Doctor of Music honoris causa of the University of Oxford in 1999.