Berlin Phil's musicians can't decide upon Rattle successor

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BERLIN (AP) — The Berlin Philharmonic's musicians were unable to agree Monday on a new chief conductor and artistic director to succeed Simon Rattle, who will leave in 2018, the orchestra said.

More than 120 members of the Philharmonic gathered at a church in the upscale Dahlem neighborhood — a venue kept secret in advance — and had been expected to decide by early afternoon who would get one of the most coveted jobs in classical music.

They were able to propose and elect any conductor, but after more than 11 hours behind closed doors spokeswoman Marieluise Schneider released a brief statement saying that no successor to Rattle had been chosen.

It was not clear whether the musicians were unable to achieve the "clear majority" needed to elect the successor, or whether they had chosen someone who declined the prestigious job.

The Berlin Philharmonic has had just three chief conductors over the past six decades: Herbert von Karajan from 1954-89, followed by Claudio Abbado and, since 2002, Rattle.

Rattle said two years ago that he will leave the job when his contract expires in 2018.

The secrecy of the vote for Rattle's successor has produced widespread speculation as to who might be chosen, including Boston Symphony Orchestra music director Andris Nelsons, Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Gustavo Dudamel, Staatskapelle Dresden chief conductor Christian Thielemann and Berlin Staatsoper music director Daniel Barenboim, the dpa news agency reported.

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