The London Symphony Orchestra is bringing the greatest music to the greatest number of people. This is at the heart of everything that it does. This commitment to serve music and the people who love music is borne of a unique ethos developed over more than 100 years. Established in 1904 by a number of London's finest musicians, the LSO is a self-governing musical collective built on artistic ownership and partnership. By taking full control of their activities, the founding Members were able to set an agenda that pushed music‐making to the fore. The Orchestra is still owned by its Members and has a signature sound emanating from the combined zeal and virtuosity of these 95 brilliant musicians who come from around the world. Music‐making remains firmly at the centre of the Orchestra's activities, and this approach is embraced by a dedicated and enthusiastic administration.
The LSO has been the Resident Orchestra at the Barbican in the City of London since the Centre opened in 1982. It gives 70 symphonic concerts there every year, and performs a further 70 concerts worldwide on tour. The LSO also programmes 24 concerts at LSO St Luke's and 950 workshops and 147 concerts through its community and education programme, LSO Discovery, each year. It is a champion of new music and regularly commissions some of the foremost British composers to write significant new works for full orchestra and mixed-ability ensembles.
The LSO has developed a close family of artists who continually demonstrate their commitment to this Orchestra: Sir Simon Rattle who becomes Music Director in September 2017, Daniel Harding and Gianandrea Noseda as our Principal Guest Conductors, Michael Tilson Thomas as Conductor Laureate, and André Previn as Conductor Emeritus. We also enjoy long standing relationships with more of the world's greatest conductors and soloists who relish the boundless professional ambitions that the LSO offers. Conducting the Orchestra has been likened to driving a high-performance sports car that can, in Sir Simon Rattle's words, ‘turn on the head of a pin'. It is a responsive and intelligent Orchestra, with an attitude of total commitment in all that it does. This is guided by a desire to always be the best it can possibly be and to give the highest quality performances no matter what the performance setting. Many LSO Members enjoy flourishing solo and chamber music careers and teach at conservatoires in London and abroad, sharing their extensive knowledge with the musicians of the future. These musical experiences are always brought back into the Orchestra itself, where they inspire and influence the players towards even higher standards of performance.
Many millions have enjoyed the LSO through its reputation as a leading orchestra for film, having performed on (and been specifically chosen for) hundreds of classic scores including Star Wars, Harry Potter and Indiana Jones. LSO Discovery brings the work of the LSO with all parts of society, and every year the Orchestra gives a free outdoor concert in London's Trafalgar Square. Combined, these activities reflect the LSO's co‐operative spirit and its ongoing commitment to making music as accessible as possible to the greatest number of people.
LSO Discovery was founded in 1990 and remains a pioneering programme for music education in the UK. Since 2003 this has been based at LSO St Luke's, following extensive restoration to the once abandoned church, which now acts as a home to a wide range of education and outreach projects, and as a venue for concerts designed for the local community, encouraging many to take their first steps towards enjoying classical music. And because much of LSO Discovery's work is captured and disseminated digitally, enthusiasts, pupils and teachers from around the world can benefit from these activities in spite of their physical location. Committed to nurturing the next generation of musical talent, LSO Discovery also provides extensive support and training for emerging young instrumentalists, composers and conductors.
The LSO is an entrepreneurial and successful creative enterprise with a history of innovation that helps to keep it relevant and contemporary. With the formation of its own recording label LSO Live in 1999, the Orchestra brought about a revolution in how live orchestral music was recorded. The label strives to embrace new digital technologies, having successfully made pioneering moves into digital film, Blu-Ray Audio, downloads and streaming. It continues to innovate with platforms such as LSO Play, a web-based video player that allows people to observe the Orchestra from many different angles and experience every gesture and emotion on the musicians' faces. The LSO's entrepreneurial spirit is what makes it a highly successful creative enterprise and an important cultural part of the United Kingdom's commercial community, self-generating 75% of its own income.
The LSO is determined to ensure the future of great music in London and throughout the world, and is part of a cultural hub in the City of London alongside the Barbican Centre, the Museum of London and the Guildhall School. Its Barbican Residency is funded by The Corporation of London and the LSO is a National Portfolio Organisation of the Arts Council England. It also enjoys major artistic residencies throughout the world – in New York, Paris and Tokyo – plus growing relationships elsewhere in Asia, principally China and India, where its expertise in education work is key. The Orchestra relies on all of these strategic partnerships at home and abroad, plus its generous funders, to enable it to continue delivering a dynamic range of work.
The Historic Stravinsky Memorial Concert, April 1972
Orchestra and choirs of the Opéra de Paris, Georges Sébastian (conductor)
London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Colin Davis
Robert Carsen, Gianandrea Noseda – George Gagnidze (Rigoletto), Irina Lungu (Gilda), Arturo Chacon Cruz (Il Duca di Mantova)...
London Symphony Orchestra. 1966
With Rudolf Nureyev, Nadia Nerina and Margot Fonteyn
Introduction, Rehearsal, and Performance
Introduction, Rehearsal, and Performance
London Symphony Orchestra, Charles Groves (conductor), Bruno Rigutto, Vasso Devetzi (piano)
London Philharmonia Orchestra, Charles Mackerras
London Philharmonic Orchestra
With Flemming Flindt, Lucette Aldous, Rudolf Nureev, Merle Park
London Symphony Orchestra, 1971-1977
Merle Park (Poll), Stanley Holden (Jasper), David Blair (Captain Belaye) – The Royal Ballet
Orchestre Philharmonique de l'ORTF, London Symphony Orchestra