In a short ceremony following the concert on 29 January 2015 in which the Third and Fourth Symphonies and the Violin Concerto by Sibelius were performed, Sir Simon Rattle received the Sibelius medal, the highest award of the Sibelius Society of Finland. The medal was presented to him by the Finnish Ambassador Päivi Luostarinen in the presence of Janna Virkkunen, the great-grandson of the composer, on the occasion of the current Sibelius cycle in the Berlin Philharmonie. The Sibelius Society of Finland said in giving its reasons for the award: “Sir Simon Rattle is one of the most important conductors of our time. When only a teenager, he conducted Sibelius' Fifth Symphony for his debut concert with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. He became world famous as chief conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.”
“Sir Simon Rattle is an indefatigable and consistent advocate and interpreter of the music of Sibelius,” said director Erkki Korhonen, who is responsible for the Sibelius anniversary year. Rattle had expanded the understanding of the music of Sibelius, increased the number of Sibelius fans, and introduced numerous listeners to the mystery of his music. The Sibelius Medal was designed by the Finnish sculptor and professor Eila Hiltunen. Its recipients include the former Finnish President Urho Kekkonen, Aino Sibelius, the wife of the composer, and Herbert von Karajan.