BERLIN (AP) — British conductor Simon Rattle will leave his post as the artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonic when his contract ends in 2018.

Rattle says he will be 64 by then and wants to make room for someone else to take over after 16 years as chief conductor.

He said in a statement Thursday that he wanted to give the German capital's renowned orchestra enough time to find a successor over the coming five years.

The orchestra's chairmen Peter Riegelbauer and Stefan Dohr said they regretted but respected his decision to quit.