My worst and best qualities are rashness: the good part of it is due to youth, which is of course why I’m not a great conductor … But now is the time to go slow rather than to rush ahead … I’ve got time on my side, but I mustn’t misuse it.
Simon Rattle, interviewed by the Guardian, February 1976
Throughout his long, prolific, and fulfilling musical life, Simon Rattle has never misused time; rather, he has relished it, always with the same energetic sense of purpose and clarity of execution that has made him such an extraordinary musician. The modesty of his early declaration that his rashness got in the way of his being a great conductor is hardly surprising: he had just turned twenty-one, was highly regarded as a Wunderkind, and perhaps careful of saying too much too early. Also, he was only days away from making his début at London’s Royal Festival Hall.