According to the article, published on May 21, Rattle and his musicians are not getting along. The newspaper suggested that Daniel Barenboim, the music director of the Berlin State Opera, and Christian Thielemann, the music director of the Munich Philharmonic, are candidates to replace him.
Philharmonic executive Jan Diesselhorst denied categorically that Rattle's departure was imminent, pointing out that his contract runs through 2012, Deutche Presse-Agentur reported. Diesselhorst attributed the rumors about Rattle to a "campaign that has been pursued against us for inexplicable reasons." He added that "the members of the Berlin Philharmonic stand together behind" their conductor.
The controversy comes just days after the resolution of another set of rumors involving Barenboim: German media speculated for days that the conductor would replace Riccardo Muti as music director of La Scala. Eventually, he was named principal guest conductor.
Rattle, the former music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, has led the Berlin Philharmonic since 2002.