Simon Rattle will leave his post as chief conductor and artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonic when his contract ends in 2018, he said Thursday.
The British conductor said he would be 64 by then and wanted to make room after 16 years for someone else to take the helm at the German capital's renowned orchestra.
"As a Liverpool boy, it is impossible not to think of the Beatles' question, `Will you still need me.., when I'm 64?'" he said in a statement.
"This was not an easy decision," he added. "I love this orchestra and therefore wanted to tell them my decision as early as possible." More