Rattle was born in Liverpool, and studied at Liverpool College. He learned the piano and violin, but his early work with orchestras was as a percussionist. He entered the Royal Academy of Music in London in 1971. There he was able to frequently conduct, and in 1974, his graduation year, he won the John Player Conductor Competition. After organising and conducting a stunning account of Mahler's Second Symphony whilst still at the Academy, he was talent spotted by the music agent Martin Campell‐White (source: ) and has since been managed by him.