London Symphony Orchestra
London Symphony Orchestra © Ranald MackechnieOn Tour 27.04.18-29.04.18

  • Sir Simon Rattle

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Three brief trips will take the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle to Germany for several concerts during the 2017/18 season. The focus of this tour will be a combination of Mahler symphonies and new works by contemporary British composers. Mahler’s Ninth Symphony will be juxtaposed with a commission by Helen Grime.


Helen Grime: New commission for the London Symphony Orchestra
Gustav Mahler: Sinfonie Nr. 9 D-Dur in vier Sätzen für großes Orchester (1908/10)


London Symphony Orchestra

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...

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 90 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, with Sir Simon Rattle as Music Director, Gianandrea Noseda and François-Xavier Roth as Principal Guest Conductors, Michael Tilson Thomas as Conductor Laureate and André Previn as Conductor Emeritus. We also enjoy long-standing relationships with some 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.


SEASON 2017/2018

More about the Orchestra


© Johann Sebastian Hanel

Sir Simon Rattle

Sir Simon Rattle was born in Liverpool and studied at the Royal Academy of Music.   From 1980 to 1998, Rattle was Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and was appointed Music Director in 1990. In 2002 he...

Sir Simon Rattle was born in Liverpool and studied at the Royal Academy of Music.


From 1980 to 1998, Rattle was Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and was appointed Music Director in 1990. In 2002 he took up his current position of Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker where he will remain until 2018. This 2017/18 season, he becomes Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra.



Simon has made over 70 recordings for EMI record label (now Warner Classics), and has received numerous prestigious international awards for his recordings on various labels. Releases on EMI include Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms (which received the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance) Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, Ravel’s L'enfant et les sortileges, Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite, Mahler Symphony No. 2, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and in August 2013 Warner Classics released Rachmaninov’s The Bells and Symphonic Dances, all recorded with the Berliner Philharmoniker. Simon’s most recently released recordings (Mark-Anthony Turnage Remembering, and ‘Ravel’ on Blue-Ray & DVD) were with the London Symphony Orchestra’s own record label: LSO Live.


As well as fulfilling a taxing concert schedule in Berlin, Simon and the Berliner Philharmoniker regularly tour within Europe, North America and Asia. The partnership has also broken new ground with the education programme Zukunft@Bphil, earning the Comenius Prize in 2004, the Schiller Special Prize from the city of Mannheim in May 2005, the Golden Camera and the Urania Medal in Spring 2007. He and the Berliner Philharmoniker were also appointed International UNICEF Ambassadors in the same year - the first time this honour has been conferred on an artistic ensemble.


In 2013, Simon and the Berliner Philharmoniker took up a residency at the Baden-Baden Osterfestspiele performing Die Zauberflöte and a series of concerts. Past seasons have included Puccini’s Manon Lescaut and Peter Sellars’s ritualization of Bach’s St. John Passion, Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust and Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde. For the Salzburg Osterfestspiele Rattle conducted staged productions of Fidelio, Cosi fan tutte, Peter Grimes, Pelléas et Mélisande, Salome and Carmen, a concert performance of Idomeneo and many contrasting concert programmes, all with the Berliner Philharmoniker. He also conducted Wagner's complete Ring Cycle with the Berliner Philharmoniker for the Aix-en-Provence Festival and Salzburg Osterfestspiele and most recently at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin and the Wiener Staatsoper. Other recent productions include Pelléas et Mélisande and Les Dialogues des Carmelites for the Royal Opera House; L'Étoile, Aus einem Totenhaus and Káťa Kabanová for the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin; and Tristan and Isolde at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.


Simon has strong longstanding relationships with the leading orchestras in London, Europe and the USA; initially working closely with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestras, and more recently with The Philadelphia Orchestra. He regularly conducts the Wiener Philharmoniker, with which he has recorded the complete Beethoven symphonies and piano concertos (with Alfred Brendel) and is also a Principal Artist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Founding Patron of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.


In September 2017, Simon took his post as Music director of the London Symphony Orchestra, opening their season at the Barbican with a programme of English music, a staged opera of Damnation de Faust, and the Stravinsky Ballets. In November, he tours Asia with the Berlin Philharmonic and piano virtuoso Lang Lang. The rest of the 2017/18 season will take Simon on a European tour with the London Symphony Orchestra, to Munich with the Bayrische Rundfunk Orchestra, and he will return to Baden-Baden for his inaugural appearance with the Berlin Phillharmonic in the Festspielhaus.


Simon was knighted in 1994 and in the New Year’s Honours of 2014 he received the Order of Merit from Her Majesty the Queen.


SEASON 2017/2018

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