London Symphony Orchestra
Music for today and tomorrow
In its 102nd season the London Symphony Orchestra is riding the crest of a wave. Valery Gergiev begins his tenure as Principal Conductor from January, and after eleven years as Principal Conductor, Sir Colin Davis becomes the LSO’s President, only the fifth in the Orchestra’s entire history. Daniel Harding also joins Michael Tilson Thomas as Principal Guest Conductor. The LSO’s roster of conductors is second to none. At its Barbican home the LSO promotes more concerts than any other classical music organisation in the capital. Audiences here and at LSO St Luke’s are growing: more and different people are coming to LSO concerts, and average attendance has grown by 20% in the last four years. Recordings now bring the Orchestra to a global audience of millions recently in films such as Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and you can hear the LSO on radio, TV, in the movies, on computer games, on planes, in elevators and just about anywhere music is enjoyed. LSO Live is the best-selling orchestral own-label in the world and is regularly No 1 in the classical downloads charts.
LSO Discovery is constantly searching for new talent through LSO and UBS Sound Adventures and the Panufnik Scheme, two programmes for emerging composers, the annual LSO St Luke’s Academy, LSO String Experience, Wind, Brass and Percussion schemes and conducting masterclasses. We are discovering new ways to exploit technology for music-making, using the National Grid for Learning to conduct simultaneous live music sessions with multiple schools in Hackney and Islington and beyond. Our concert audiences can now contact us using their technology of choice, and you can invite your relatives to special concerts tailored for families. Student and Community Ambassadors and City Agents bring along first-timers to concerts at the Barbican and LSO St Luke’s. LSO St Luke’s, the UBS and LSO Music Education Centre on Old Street, is expanding its artistic programme to include more BBC Radio 3 lunchtime chamber concerts, Friday Night is Music Night with BBC Radio 2, BBC television broadcasts with artists including Elton John and Corinne Bailey Rae, world music promotions and the UBS Eclectica concert series with top artists from diverse musical backgrounds. LSO Discovery runs regular music-making classes for local residents and workers Monday night is community night with adults’ choir, youth choir, community gamelan group and digital technology classes.
The LSO’s pioneering spirit was strong even in its infancy. It was the first British orchestra to tour abroad (1906) and the first European orchestra to travel to America (1912). Since its inception the LSO has given literally hundreds of first performances and commissioned some of the most important music ever written. The Orchestra has the ability to capture the public imagination: it made its first recording in 1913; its first film in 1935; its first popular TV programme (André Previn’s Music Night) in 1971; its first ringtone in 2000; its first video-conferenced masterclass in 2003; its first digital download in 2005, and its first Baby IQ DVD in 2006. Managing Director Kathryn McDowell, musicians and staff are determined to pursue the LSO’s world class quality and access mission to ever-greater lengths, re-defining the role of the Orchestra in its second century. Always inventive and dynamic, the LSO has led the way in orchestral development and initiative. The Orchestra has deep roots, having evolved and adapted to a constantly changing world for over 100 years. The LSO now has its focus firmly fixed on the future.