Welcome to the Barbican – which first opened to the public on this day 40 years ago! Tonight the celebrations of this special anniversary begin on the Barbican foyers, with a fabulous array of pre-concert performances to discover and explore.
The performers tonight take part in our LSO Discovery programmes, which aim not only to find and train the next generation of world-class musicians and composers, but also to draw in everyone we can so that all of our communities get to share the transformative power of creating, performing and experiencing music.
Tonight, alongside LSO musicians who are at the heart of this unique programme, we are proud to present contributions from the music-makers who are the future of orchestral music. As you will hear, the London Symphony Orchestra is not only a world-class orchestra, it is also a starting point for brilliant projects ranging from Classical to Jazz to brilliant genre-defying music played by outstanding musicians – some young, and some kept young by music!
May you enjoy listening as much as we’ve enjoyed developing these projects.
LSO Chair & Principal Second Violin
YOUR PRE-CONCERT GUIDE
Use this digital guide to find out all about the pre-concert performances, and learn more about the music and performers.
Navigate using the menu or menu icon (≡) at the top of the screen. Free WiFi is available through the Barbican Free WiFi network.
COMPLIMENTARY DRINK & SOUVENIR PROGRAMME
All ticket-holders for tonight's concert are invited to celebrate the Barbican's 40th anniversary with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine. We are delighted to be working with Barbican Bars to offer this as a small gesture of appreciation for the support of our audience over the years.
Please visit the Circle bar and dedicated pop-up bar on the Ground Floor, or the Theatre Bar and Stalls bar on Level Minus 1 before the concert and show your concert ticket to receive your complimentary glass of sparkling wine, or non-alcoholic alternative.
Please pick up a free programme before taking a seat in the Barbican Hall for tonight's concert. Ask an LSO steward, or collect a programme on the door as you enter the Hall.
What's On & Where
SILK STREET ENTRANCE
A selection of performances and highlights celebrating the LSO's residency at the Barbican, including a new recording by the LSO Community Choir
IN THE CURVE
Chamber music performances by LSO musicians, including music by Daniel Kidane
ACROSS THE FOYERS
Fanfares by Cassie Kinoshi performed by LSO musicians, Guildhall Artist Masters: Orchestral Artistry alumni and LSO East London Academy Brass
LEVEL MINUS-1, CLUBSTAGE
Ayanna Witter-Johnson & LSO Percussion Ensemble perform Unconditionally and Forever
LEVEL G, FREESTAGE
Classical Meets Jazz perform ReCreation
LSO Create recorded performance of Create Creation
From the Silk Street Entrance
A selection of performances and highlights celebrating the LSO's residency at the Barbican
Including a new recording by the LSO Community Choir
'I found it truly uplifting being part of the recording process for the Barbican at 40 LSO celebrations. Every single member of the choir sang their hearts out - a real celebration of our choral community after so many months of being apart!'
'I am glad that I could participate in this nice project, and I am looking forward to hearing and seeing the result in the Barbican.'
LSO Community Choir
The Community Choir has open access at its heart – anyone is welcome who lives or works in the area, and no audition is necessary. Gareth Malone – now a television personality – was one of the first singers in 2003, and by 2004 he had taken over directing the Choir. His vision to ‘grow to about 60 members’ from an initial 30 was surpassed by those wanting to take part, and by the time he left five years later, there were 80 singers in the Choir’s ranks – its membership now totals 110.
The Choir’s current director, David Lawrence, tailors the music-making for a broad mix of people: from those who know their sharps from their flats to those who have no experience of musical notation. Alongside the Choir’s regular concerts is an impressive list of performances: they have worked with Hugh Masekela celebrating his 70th birthday; performed a partially-staged version of Britten’s St Nicolas with tenor Ian Bostridge; and took part in two new operas, Jonathan Dove’s The Monster in The Maze and Andrew Norman’s A Trip to the Moon, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.
Above all, the Choir is about the joy of singing and remains open to everyone. For those who claim they can’t sing, the Community Choir has proved in the best possible way that anyone can get involved in music-making and find their voice.
In The Curve's exhibition, Out and About, which highlights 40 moments and stories in London's LGBTQ+ history
Chamber music by Daniel Kidane & Benjamin Britten
Performed by LSO musicians
Benjamin Britten Elegy for solo viola
Steve Doman viola
Six Metamorphoses after Ovid
Juliana Koch oboe
Steve and Juliana have both chosen to perform music tonight by Benjamin Britten, one of the UK's most prominent composers, who lived through an extraordinary period of change in social attitudes towards homosexuality during the mid-to-late 20th century. Though he never spoke outwardly about his sexuality, the life he shared with his 'muse' Peter Pears was no secret, and much of his music bares the influence of his experience in a time when it was illegal to be gay in England.
Daniel Kidane Dappled Light
Maxine Kwok & Julián Gil Rodríguez violin
Daniel Kidane has been a composer on the LSO Soundhub, Panufnik and Jerwood Composer+ schemes. He wrote Dappled Light during lockdown of 2020, and it was the first piece LSO musicians performed to a live audience in July 2020, when venues were able to re-open.
Across the foyers
Fanfares by Cassie Kinoshi (world premiere)
Performed by LSO musicians, Guildhall Artist Masters: Orchestral Artistry alumni and LSO East London Academy Brass
Adam Hickox conductor
Commissioned by the LSO for the Barbican's 40th anniversary
When the Barbican first opened to the public on 3 March 1982, fanfares performed across the foyers heralded the occasion in glorious fashion.
Forty years later, new Fanfares commissioned by the LSO for the anniversary of our Barbican home celebrate this 'modern wonder' in similar style. Seven fanfares in total, performed from the upper levels of the foyers, will resonate through the space for all to hear.
composer & LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme participant 2018/19
© Adama Jalloh
Cassie Kinoshi is a Mercury Prize-nominated (2019) and Ivors Academy Award-winning (2018) London-based composer, arranger and alto saxophonist. As an artist, she performs in her own band seed. as well as being a key member of KOKOROKO and Nérija (as both performer and co-writer). She is a composition graduate of the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and is passionate about working as an educator and workshop leader.
Driftglass, her debut album with seed. (formally known as SEED Ensemble) was a Hyundai Mercury Prize nomination and nominee of the Jazz FM Awards Album of the Year 2020, at which Cassie was awarded the Breakthrough Act of The Year prize in 2019.
Cassie is an in-demand composer for ballet and theatre with production credits including National Theatre (Top Girls), BalletBoyz (Bradley 4:18 and YES), The Old Vic (as part of the Old Vic 12 2016-17) and Battersea Arts Centre (SuperBlackMan). In 2021, Cassie’s new piece Solaristic Precepts commissioned by London Sinfonietta was premiered as part of EFG London Jazz Festival.
In 2021, Cassie was Artist in Resident for London Unwrapped festival at King’s Place. Her residency included the world premiere of Three Suns Suite for Aurora Orchestra featuring members of seed.; Synthesis, a night curated by Cassie of forward-reaching artists from London; and echo, an immersive installation created in collaboration with visual artist Anne Verehij with score by Cassie featuring electronic soundscapes, field recordings and members of Chineke! Cassie also led the She is Jazz initiative for Serious’ EFG London Jazz Festival and has released the soundtrack to Bradley 4:18 on her own label BeatPrint Records. She was a participant of the LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme in 2018/19.
About Orchestral Artistry
Orchestral Artistry is an exciting professional specialism for instrumentalists seeking a career in orchestral playing, reflecting what it is to be a 21st century musician. Part of the Guildhall Artist Masters programme and delivered in close collaboration with the LSO, Orchestral Artistry offers a course of study which is both highly distinctive and ground-breaking in its scope, in a context akin to a professional environment.
The aim of the programme is to produce fully-rounded, excellent instrumentalists who have acquired the professional and entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and capability to become high achieving 21st-century musicians. LSO musicians share their knowledge and experience; and students gain confidence and a detailed understanding of what is required at the highest level of the profession.
Alumni performing tonight are: Tom Kearsey, Jacob Rosenberg (trumpet) and Chris Claxton (tuba)
© Kevin Leighton
About the LSO East London Academy
The LSO East London Academy, launched in 2019, aims to identify and develop the potential of young East Londoners between the ages of 11 and 18. Through the provision of free, inspirational coaching delivered by world-class musicians from the London Symphony Orchestra, the Academy offers high-level training and mentoring to young musicians who show exceptional promise, accelerating their instrumental learning, confidence and aspirations.
The Academy aims to represent the diversity of east London, particularly encouraging young musicians from backgrounds currently under-represented in professional orchestras, including those from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse backgrounds, and/or those that experience barriers to high-level training for financial, cultural or practical barriers – a step towards facilitating wider diversification of the professional classical music sector.
Developed by the London Symphony Orchestra in partnership with the local Music Services in ten East London boroughs: Bexley, Barking & Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Havering, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. Made possible through the generous support of the Henocq Law Trust, The Steel Charitable Trust, The Irving Memorial Trust, the Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation and The Radcliffe Trust.
'Being able to perform with lots of people, playing music that I really enjoy playing is what I most look forward to about LSO East London Academy performances.'
Performing tonight are: Martin Ventoso Aroca, Vanisha Marcelene, Mikel Emele, Thomas Hanford, Malaika Kabeya, Molly Devlin, Daniel Pryce
On the Clubstage, Level -1
Unconditionally & Forever
by Ayanna-Witter Johnson
Performed by Ayanna Witter-Johnson & the LSO Percussion Ensemble
Ayanna Witter-Johnson wrote Unconditionally as a tribute to her mother. It was originally written for voice, cello and cowbell – with Ayanna singing and playing both instruments (the cowbell with her foot!). The cello part employs techniques including pizzicato (plucking the strings), clapping on the body of the instrument, and col legno (tapping the strings with the stick of the bow). The lyrics describe mother and daughter’s mutual love (‘nothing comes between me and you’) and Ayanna’s recognition of her mother’s generosity (‘the hard roads you walked so I could fly’). The song ends in an ecstatic repeated affirmation: ‘I see you in me’.
Note by Kate Hopkins
'I wrote [Unconditionally] coming back from Cuba, and the central rhythm of that song is a rumba clave. I wanted to create a longer piece to extend that sentiment and explore another clave from West Africa.
With Forever, the rhythms are from my childhood memory of dancing in a West African dance troupe with my mum as a small child.'
'I composed Forever as an accompanying piece to my song Unconditionally (a song dedicated to my mother). Forever expands upon the gratitude that I express to her for nurturing my musicality in my early childhood. When I was three years old, my mother was a dancer in a Ghanaian West African Dance Troupe, and I would dance with them on a few of their shows, becoming the ‘baby’ of the troupe. Those dances are embedded in my soul, especially the grounding drumming rhythms of the Atsiagbekor dance of the Ewe-speaking people of Southern Ghana, Togo and Benin. It is this sound that opens the piece, forever combining my earliest memories of my love for dance and music.'
Note by Ayanna Witter-Johnson
'Having spent so much time as an LSO Soundhub Associate and young composer, and experimenting with my sound and music, I'm delighted to be back with my LSO family.'
composer & LSO Panufnik Composer Scheme participant 2008/09
Some composers defy succinct definition, and shoehorning Ayanna Witter-Johnson into a tidy profile is no mean feat. Her music blurs boundaries between classical and alternative RnB – two genres that rarely coexist – and you are just as likely to find her singing while playing the cello, as you are to find her poring over an orchestral score. This remarkable confluence of styles stems from a childhood that was saturated with music of every shape and colour. ‘My dad and uncle are DJs and my mum loves to sing,’ says Ayanna, ‘so I embraced a pretty healthy diet of classical piano and cello studies while absorbing pop culture, soul, jazz, reggae, hip-hop and RnB music throughout my childhood and until now.’
Witter-Johnson was just three years old when her mother spotted an aptitude for music and took her to her first piano lesson, and she took up the cello as her second instrument (now very much her first) when she was 13. She went on to graduate with a first from both Trinity Laban and the Manhattan School of Music, and in 2009 was featured as an Emerging Artist in Residence at London’s Southbank Centre. Since then, she has been commissioned by the Ligeti Quartet, Kronos Quartet and London Symphony Orchestra, collaborated with Anoushka Shankar and Courtney Pine, and been nominated for a MOBO award. She cites Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder among her greatest influences as readily as she does Bach and Debussy, and while many of her works chronicle her experience as a female artist in the 21st century, she is also no stranger to tackling issues of social oppression and globalisation. Her music is impossible to label (and why should we?) but its guiding principle is one of authenticity and personal truth.
Ayanna participated in the LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme in 2008/09. Her music has since featured on the LSO Live recording Panufnik Legacies III and been performed by the LSO in concert at the Barbican. She has also been commissioned to write with and for the LSO East London Academy and the LSO Percussion Ensemble.
Profile by Jo Kirkbride
LSO Percussion Ensemble
The LSO Percussion Ensemble comprises members of the London Symphony Orchestra’s percussion section as well as distinguished orchestral players with enviable reputations. If you are a classical music-lover you will have heard them on countless LSO recordings as well as in the concert hall. The Ensemble enjoys an international following and embarked on a tour of Japan in 2018.
Their highly successful recording of music by Steve Reich for LSO Live attracted rave reviews from BBC Music Magazine, Gramophone, HR Audio and more. The Ensemble returned with a jazz-infused album of music by Gwilym Simcock and Steve Reich, and new arrangements of piece by jazz legends Chick Corea, Makoto Ozone and Joe Locke, released on LSO Live in March 2020.
All this takes place within the context of performing numerous concerts a year at the Barbican as members of the London Symphony Orchestra, plus touring with the LSO around the world, with eminent conductors such as Sir Antonio Pappano and the Orchestra’s Music Director Sir Simon Rattle.
Performing tonight are: Neil Percy, Sam Walton, Gwilym Simcock, Francesca Lombardelli, Jonathan Phillips
On the Freestage, Level G
Performed by Classical Meets Jazz
Andy Grappy conductor & group leader
ReCreation is influenced by Haydn's The Creation, and repertoire by artists such as Ray Hargrove and Sun Ra. The piece creates a fusion of styles and genres and features improvisations by Classical Meets Jazz players and professional musicians.
About Classical Meets Jazz
Classical Meets Jazz (CMJ) is a diverse mixed ability, mixed age and mixed instrument ensemble run by music education hub partners Hackney Music Service and LSO Discovery. It was set up in 2016 to support access to ensemble music-making for children and young people (particularly those from Black, South Asian and Turkish communities), and those from financially-disadvantaged backgrounds who are under-represented in local and professional orchestras and jazz ensembles.
CMJ runs courses over two or three days in school holiday periods, during which members devise and perform music inspired by classical works, jazz and other repertoire. Sessions centre around learning and playing by ear to develop compositional and improvisational skills.
The group is led by Andy Grappy and supported by musicians from the London Symphony Orchestra and professional musicians from a range of culturally diverse backgrounds that reflects the ensemble membership.
Performing tonight are: Jez Wiles, Alpheous Little, Tom Hewins, Nick Hann, Alex Dmochoswki, Uchenna Ngwe, Sam Kinrade
Recorded performance by LSO Create
Mark Withers animateur
In preparing for this performance, the members of LSO Create have looked at different aspects of Haydn’s The Creation, experimenting with the forming of the elements and the painting of animals in sound. However, we have chosen to base this piece on a more modern, scientific view of creation and derive our work from three extraordinary images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Through these images, it is easy to imagine the forming of matter after the Big Bang, that matter coming together into spiralling galaxies and then onwards to the vastness of the universe. These are the three sections of our Create Creation.
The pieces started off in improvisation that step-by-step came together and coalesced into fixed structures that we could then rehearse and refine. The work has been carried out over the last three days and was recorded at LSO St Luke's this morning, but in fact reflects our many years of working together and the musical life that binds the members of LSO Create and the LSO.
'For me, listening to classical music is therapeutic. Playing music even more so.'
About LSO Create
© Kevin Leighton
The LSO Create programme offers adults with learning disabilities and their supporters the opportunity to hear live music and participate in a range of creative music-making experiences.
The wider group meets ten times over the year at LSO St Luke’s for whole-day workshops with LSO musicians, led by Mark Withers. United by a love of music, they are inspired by repertoire being performed by the LSO.
Members are encouraged to experiment with a variety of skills including conducting, music-making, performing and movement, enabling them to build their confidence over time and develop meaningful friendships with LSO musicians. LSO Create also regularly attend wider LSO events, including rehearsals and concerts.
The participants in our filmed performance this evening, which is inspired by The Creation, include some of the longest-standing members of LSO Create, demonstrating the wide range of skills that can be nurtured through sustained work.
Written by Ayanna Witter-Johnson
with the LSO East London Academy
Performed by LSO East London Academy young musicians
DreamCity is a vibrant, energetic and rhythmically pulsing song without words for string orchestra. Inspired by conversations with the young string players of the LSO East London Academy (ELA) on their personal experiences of the lockdowns that occurred in 2020, it draws upon the themes of personal creativity, perseverance, uncertainty, dreams, dance and playing games.
'I like the idea that our experience in quarantine influenced some of the music.'
The piece was developed through a project delivered in Autumn 2020, which blended creative discussions, online coaching, recording and editing to create a final audio-visual piece. It was re-arranged for live performances for the LSO’s BMW Classics concert from Trafalgar Square in August 2021 (pictured below).
'I loved being able to talk to like-minded people that share my passion, and meeting a real composer too!'
On the Clubstage, Level Minus-1
Karakurenai & Sunrise
Performed by LSO East London Academy Percussion
By Andy Akiho
Rhythm drives us as human beings, and it is fundamental to music – pop, classical, or unclassified. In Karakurenai (2007), by steel pan virtuoso Andy Akiho, our attention is drawn to the ever-shifting rhythmic patterns. When we think we have settled into a groove, the goalposts move and we are forced to readjust our perceptions once again.
Akiho’s original version for steel pan sees the instrument specially prepared with cylindrical magnets, along with the instruction that the performer should use ‘the cardboard tube of a dry cleaner coat hanger’ for the ostinato in the right hand, and a wooden chopstick for the melody in the left. But if this seems meticulously prescriptive, Akiho also notes that the piece can be performed on any combination of instruments and can even include elements of improvisation if desired.
Note by Jo Kirkbride
By Yuma and Nahuel Angius-Thomas
Sunrise was written by Yuma and Nahuel Angius-Thomas for the percussionists of the LSO East London Academy. Yuma and Nahuel are twin brothers from London who love music – between them they play drum kit, percussion, piano and bassoon – and members of the LSO East London Academy.
The title Sunrise refers to the different moments of the sun's journey. The marimba starts with a motivic idea which is then passed throughout all the instruments.
'Learning lessons in a fun way really builds up your musical knowledge.'
Performing tonight are: Frances Oguh, Kieran Owusu-Bennoah, Nathan-Asher Oriakhi, Yuma Angius-Thomas
EXPLORE THE BARBICAN WITH THE LSO & ZOME
Explore the London Symphony Orchestra's 40 years as Resident Orchestra at the Barbican through a free digital treasure hunt around the Centre, powered by the augmented reality app ZOME.
Visit lso.co.uk/zome to find out more.