Sunday 26 April
The Rite of Spring
Webern Six Pieces for Orchestra
Berg Three Fragments from 'Wozzeck'
Ligeti Mysteries of the Macabre
Stravinsky The Rite of Spring
Sir Simon Rattle conductor
Barbara Hannigan soprano
Concert recorded in January 2015
Six Pieces for Orchestra Op 6b
1909–10, rev 1927–28
1. Etwas bewegte Achtel
3. Zart bewegt
4. Langsam – marcia funebre
5. Sehr langsam
6. Zart bewegt
Composed in 1909, these six orchestral snapshots
are landmarks in Webern’s musical evolution.
Compare them with his effusive 1904 tone poem
Im Sommerwind and you might think they were written
by a totally different person; in many ways they were.
The year he completed that early ‘idyll for large orchestra’, Webern became Arnold Schoenberg’s pupil. His discipleship of the great musical innovator was absolute and, along with fellow followers, such as Alban Berg, Webern subsequently pursued a very different musical path.
Schoenberg’s influence endured long after Webern’s formal pupillage ended in 1908, though Webern was very much his own man in fashioning a distinctly aphoristic musical language. That is clearly evinced by his Six Pieces, written in memory of his mother who had died in 1906, and dedicated to Schoenberg, who conducted the premiere at the beginning of the notorious 1913 ‘Skandalkonzert’ at the Musikverein in Vienna.
Skandalkonzert (31 March 1913)
In a concert conducted by Schoenberg, the audience – shocked by expressionism and experimentalism – started rioting. One punch thrown by the concert's organiser resulted in a lawsuit. A witness testified that the punch had been the most harmonious sound of the evening.
Acknowledging his grief over his mother’s death, Webern includes a Funeral March at the work’s core, recalling the second movement of Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Symphony as well as Mahler’s more recent funeral processions. Unlike those models, however, Webern reduces the threnody – by far the longest ‘piece’ in the work – to a series of low percussive murmurings, which eventually build to a hellish climax. The subsequent feeling of emotional distillation is indicative of the brute concentration of sound and gesture that was to become Webern’s hallmark.
‘No motif is developed, at most, a brief progression is immediately repeated. Once stated, the theme expresses all it has to say; it must be followed by something fresh.’
Such concision of thought is further underlined by the use of Webern’s reduced orchestration of 1928, by which time he, once more following Schoenberg’s lead, had embarked on serial composition.
Note by Gavin Plumley
Gavin Plumley is a writer, broadcaster and musicologist. He has written for The Guardian and The Independent on Sunday and appeared on BBC Radio. Gavin commissions and edits the English-language programme notes for the Salzburg Festival.
Image: Parto da viola Bom Ménage by Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, 1916
Born in Vienna in 1883, Anton Webern was introduced to music by his mother, a talented amateur pianist. He later studied piano, cello and music theory with Edwin Komauer in Klagenfurt, and in 1902 enrolled as a student at the University of Vienna. From the autumn of 1904 until 1908, Webern took private composition lessons from Arnold Schoenberg. The two men became close allies, and their pupil-teacher relationship endured long after formal studies were concluded.
With limited experience and no training, Webern slowly established a career as a conductor, eventually working at the Deutsches Theater in Prague during the autumn of 1917. The following year he returned to the new Austrian Republic and took lodgings close to Schoenberg in the Vienna suburb of Mödling. During the 1920s and early 1930s he proved successful as a conductor, working with the Mödling Male Chorus, the Vienna Workers’ Symphony Concerts and the Vienna Workers’ Chorus, and introducing new scores to his audiences. In 1929 he toured as a conductor to Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne and London. His mature works, lyrical and beautiful in nature, show a remarkable concision of thought, with formal procedures governed by his development of the twelve-tone composition method pioneered by Schoenberg.
Following the Anschluss of 1938, Webern’s post as a conductor for Austrian Radio was withdrawn and his music was largely ignored during the war years. During the siege of Vienna in 1944, he and his wife moved to Mittersill, near Salzburg, to be with their daughters. On the evening of 15 September 1945 he was shot and killed by an American soldier who is believed to have mistaken Webern for a black-marketeer.
Composer profile by Andrew Stewart
Andrew Stewart is a freelance music journalist and writer. He is the author of The LSO at 90, and contributes to a wide variety of specialist classical music publications.
Three Fragments from 'Wozzeck'
1. March – Lullaby
2. Theme and Variations
Barbara Hannigan soprano
Vienna has always been a city of theatre and Alban Berg would go and see plays night after night. Typically, Berg was present when Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck was first performed in Vienna on 5 May 1914. Misread as ‘Wozzeck’ in Büchner’s fragment, Woyzeck is a working-man’s tragedy. Humiliated by his superiors, Wozzeck becomes psychotic, kills his adulterous wife and finally drowns himself. Dumbfounded by this indictment of hierarchical society, Berg immediately set to work on an opera. But war soon broke out and Berg was called up. He eventually came back to the War Ministry in Vienna and worked privately but feverishly on Wozzeck throughout the hostilities.
When Berg finally completed the opera in 1922, its fiendish score proved nigh impossible to stage. Financial collapse had made grave dents in cultural life. But when conductor Hermann Scherchen heard some of Berg’s other work in 1923, he encouraged Berg to write an orchestral suite. These three fragments were performed under Scherchen in Frankfurt in June 1924. Enthusiasm prevailed and, although by that time the Berlin Staatsoper had already expressed interest in the opera, the Frankfurt performance undoubtedly paved the way to the opera’s triumphant premiere on 14 December 1925.
The fragments open with music from the first act. After a hushed string introduction, Wozzeck and his friend Andres sing a hunting song. This in turn is reflected in a scene between Wozzeck’s wife Marie and their son. After flirting with soldiers – described in a passing march – Marie sings a lullaby. The second movement portrays Marie seeking solace in the Bible at the beginning of Act 3, while the final movement is dominated by the potent D minor interlude that follows Wozzeck’s suicide. Mahlerian in its intensity, Berg ultimately withdraws from such emotional candour and the final scene – depicting Wozzeck and Marie’s orphan – is agonisingly detached.
Note by Gavin Plumley
Image: Cityscape by Alexsandra Ekster
Three Fragments from 'Wozzeck'
Libretto & translation
Act I, Scene 2 & 3
Marie (singt vor sich hin)
sind schöne Burschen!
(unterbricht den Gesang)
Marie (singing to herself)
The soldiers, the soldiers
are splendid fellows …
Komm, mein Bub!
Was die Leute wollen!
Bist nur ein arm’ Hurenkind
und machst Deiner Mutter
doch so viel Freud’
mit Deinem unehrlichen
(wiegt das Kind)
Come, my child!
We shan’t hear their slanders!
You are just a bastard child
and give to your mother
so pure a joy,
although no priest blessed
your little face.
(she rocks the child)
Eia popeia …
Mädel, was fangst Du jetzt an?
Hast ein klein Kind und kein Mann!
Ei, was frag’ ich darnach,
Sing’ ich die ganze Nacht:
Eia popeia, mein süsser Bu’,
Gibt mir kein Mensch
Hush-a-bye, ba-by …
Maiden, what song shall you sing?
You have a child, but no ring.
Why such sorrow pursue?
Singing the whole night through:
Hush-a-bye ba-by, my darling son,
ne’er a one!
Hansel, spann’ Deine sechs Schimmel an,
Gib sie zu fressen auf’s neu,
Kein Haber fresse sie,
Kein Wasser saufe sie.
Lauter kühler Wein muss es sein,
(bemerkt, daß Kind ist eingeschlafen)
Lauter kühler Wein muss es sein.
Jackie, go saddle your horses now,
give them to eat and to spare.
No oats to eat today,
no water to drink today.
Purest, coolest wine shall it be,
(she notices that the child is asleep)
Purest, coolest wine shall it be.
ACT III, SCENE 1
‘Und ist kein Betrug in seinem Munde erfunden worden.’
Herr-Gott! Herr-Gott! Sieh’ mich nicht an!
(blättert weiter und liest wieder)
‘And out of His mouth there came forth neither deceit nor falsehood.’
Lord God, Lord God! Look not on me!
(she turns the pages and reads on)
‘Aber die Pharisäer brachten ein Weib zu ihm,
so im Ehebruch lebte’.
‘Jesus aber sprach: So verdamme ich dich auch nicht, geh’ hin,
und sündige hinfort nicht mehr’.
‘Wherefore the Pharisees had taken and brought to Him
an adulterous woman’.
‘Jesus said to her: Thus do I condemn thee no more, go forth,
go forth in peace and sin no more’.
(schlägt die Hände vors Gesicht)
(das Kind drängt sich an Marie)
(covers her face with her hands)
(the child presses up to Marie)
Der Bub’ gibt mir einen Stich in’s Herz. Fort!
(stößt das Kind von sich)
Das brüst’ sich in der Sonne!
The boy looks at me and stabs my heart. Be off!
(pushes the child away)
That brat there in the sunlight!
(suddenly more gentle)
Nein, komm, komm her!
(zicht das Kind an sich)
Komm zu mir!
Ah, no, come here!
(draws him closer)
Come to me!
‘Es war einmal ein armes Kind,
und hatt’ keinen Vater und keine Mutter, war Alles tot,
und war Niemand auf der Welt,
und es hat gehungert und geweint Tag und Nacht.
Und weil es Niemand mehr hatt’ auf der Welt …’
‘And once there was a poor child,
and he had no father nor any mother, for all were dead,
there was no one in the world,
therefore he did hunger and did weep day and night.
Since he had nobody left in the world …’
Der Franz ist nit kommen,
gestern nit, heut’ nit …
(blättert hastig in der Bibel)
Wie steht es geschrieben von der Magdalena?
But Franz has not come yet,
yesterday, this day …
(hastily turns the leaves of the Bible)
What is written here of Mary Magdalene?
‘Und kniete hin zu seinen Füssen und weinte,
und küsste seine Füsse
und netzte sie mit Tränen
und salbte sie mit Salben.’
(schlägt sich auf die Brust)
‘And falling on her knees before Him and weeping,
she kissed His feet and washed them,
and washed them with her tears,
anointing them with ointment.’
(beats her breast, singing)
Heiland! Ich möchte Dir die Füsse salben …
Heiland, Du hast Dich ihrer erbarmt,
erbarme Dich auch meiner!
Saviour! Could I anoint Thy feet with ointment …
Saviour, as Thou hadst mercy on her,
have mercy now on me, Lord!
ACT III, SCENE 4 & 5
Ringel, Ringel, Rosenkranz, Ringelreih’n!
Ringel, Ringel, Rosenkranz, Rin –
(unterbrechen Gesang und Spiel)
Ring-a-ring a-ros-es, All fall down!
Ring-a-ring a-ros-es, All –
(stop singing and playing)
Although piano lessons formed part of Berg’s general education, the boy showed few signs of exceptional talent for music. He struggled to pass his final exams at the Vienna Gymnasium, preferring to learn directly about new trends in art, literature, music and architecture from friends such as Oskar Kokoschka, Gustav Klimt and Adolf Loos.
On graduating from school, Berg accepted a post as a local government official, but in October 1904 was inspired by a newspaper advertisement to study composition with Arnold Schoenberg. He studied for six years with Schoenberg, who remained his close friend and mentor. During this time, Schoenberg evolved a new approach to composing, gradually moving away from the norms of tonal harmony.
In 1910, Berg completed his String Quartet Op 3, in which he revealed an independent creative flair. Berg’s self-confidence grew with the composition of several miniature works and, in 1914, the large-scale Three Pieces for Orchestra. Service with the Austrian Imperial Army during World War I did not completely halt Berg’s output; indeed, he began his first opera, Wozzeck, in the summer of 1917. The work was premiered at the Staatsoper Berlin in December 1925 and, despite hostile early criticism, has since entered the international repertoire. As an innovative composer, Berg successfully married atonality – and, later, a harmonic and melodic language based on the use of all twelve tones of the chromatic scale – with forms from the past. Traces of popular music also surface in his works, notably so in his opera Lulu (1929–35), a powerful tale of immorality, completed from the composer’s sketches only after the death of his widow in 1976. Berg himself died of septicaemia, almost certainly caused by complications following an insect bite.
Composer profile by Andrew Stewart
Mysteries of the Macabre
Barbara Hannigan soprano
Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre was premiered in
Stockholm in 1978. All too rare in the history of contemporary opera, that initial production was soon followed by others in Hamburg (1978), Saarbrucken (1979), Bologna (1979), Nuremberg (1980), Paris (1981) and London (1982). But then Le Grand Macabre is an opera like no other, based on a play by the avant-garde Belgian dramatist Michel de Ghelderode. It portrays the threat of the end of time in exaggerated, artificial and farcical terms. And yet, despite its anarchic qualities, it is an opera that draws directly on the traditions of the art form as a whole, from Monteverdi to the present day, offering a post-modern palimpsest of references, including, Ligeti confessed, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and Verdi’s Falstaff.
Among its extraordinary cast of characters, such as the deus ex machina, Nekrotzar, a host of peasants, monsters and lovers, a boy prince and sniping politicians, is Gepopo, a coloratura soprano Chief of Secret Police. Her arias form the Mysteries of the Macabre, arranged by Elgar Howarth, who conducted the opera’s premiere. This wild eight-minute window into the world of ‘Breughelland’, where Le Grand Macabre is set, offers a destabilising, fractious and, often, downright funny experience, as well as simultaneously confirming the enduring power of opera to dazzle and delight. That, in itself, was a courageous claim when Ligeti wrote the piece, kicking against the belligerent iconoclasm of figures such as Pierre Boulez, who had said that ‘the most elegant solution for the problem of opera is to blow up the opera houses’. Ligeti, notwithstanding his own unmistakable sense of tongue-in-cheek, dares to trust the genre, with all its absurd possibilities, crazy inconsistencies and virtuoso bursts of colour.
Note by Gavin Plumley
Image: Dynamic Decomposition by Umberto Boccioni, 1913
Mysteries of the Macabre
Psst! Pspsst! Pspspsst!
Cocococo! Cococo! Cocoding zero! Oh!
Cococoding Zero Zero: highest security-grade!
Zero, Zero! Birds on the wing!
Snakes in the grass!
Rabble, rabble, rabble! Riot, riot!
Communal insurrection! Mutinous masses!
Turbulence! Panic! Panic! Paaaaaapaapapapanic!
Groundless! Groundless! Phobia!
Wide of the mark! Right off the track!
What did you say?
March! Marcht! March target! Direction! -rection!
Direction! Prince! Your Palace!
March target royal palace! Palace!
Password: Gogogogolash! / Gogolash!
Demonstrations, ha! Protest actions, ha!
Pst! Pst! Much discretion! Observation!
Take precautions! That’s all!
Pst! Pst! Not a squeak!
One more thing: Bear in mind:
Silence is golden!
What is it now?
Secret cypher! Code name: Loch Ness Monster!
Comet in sight! Red Glow! Burns bright!
Pst! Sit tight! No fright!
Yes! No! No! Yes! Yes! No! Beyond all doubt!
Satellite! Asteroid! Planetoid!
Coming fast! Hostile! Perfidious!
Stern measures! Stern measures!
Stern measures! Stern measures!
Kukuriku! Kikiriki! He’s coming!
Kekerike! Kokoroko! Kukuriku! Kakarika!
Makarikaka! Makabrikaka! Makabrika!
Kabrikama! Brikamaka! Kamakabri!
Makabri! Makrabi! Makrabey! Makrabey! …
Coming! … Look there! There! There! There!
He’s getting in! … He’s in!
Where’s the guard? … The guard! …
Call the guard! … Call the guar’ …
Call ‘e gua’! … Call guard-a! Da! …
A-da! … Da!! …
Da Da Da Da Psst Da.
Text by Michael Meschke / György Ligeti
English version by Geoffrey Skelton
György Ligeti was born in Diciosânmartin, Transylvania. During the war, his native region was seized by the crypto-fascist Hungarian regime and, as a Jew, Ligeti was sent to a labour camp. Most of the rest of his immediate family perished at Auschwitz. After the war he studied at the Budapest Academy of Music, where he later taught from 1950.
His earliest works trod the officially approved path of folk-music stylisation à la Kodály and Bartók. However, he felt constrained by life under the Hungarian communist regime and its requirement of extreme stylistic conservatism. In late 1956, after the Soviet army had put down the Hungarian Revolution against Soviet rule, he fled to Vienna.
Ligeti subsequently worked at the electronic studio in Cologne, then from 1961 he taught at the Academy of Music in Stockholm. In a series of frankly experimental works starting with Apparitions, Aventures and Atmosphères –exploring composition with ‘blocks of sound’, micro-intervals and a host of complex interwoven individual parts – he established himself as one of the leaders of Europe’s avant-garde. This phase culminated in his grotesque opera Le Grand Macabre, which premiered in 1977.
Following the opera there was a five-year hiatus in composition, after which, in the last phase of Ligeti’s career, he returned to a somewhat more traditional view of musical form and content. Ligeti eventually assumed Austrian citizenship in 1967, and the following year his music reached a very wide audience through its use in Stanley Kubrick’s classic sciencefiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The recipient of many international music awards and prestigious commissions, and generally recognised as one of the most important Hungarian composers since Bartók, he died in Vienna in 2006.
Composer profile by Benjamin Picard
The Rite of Spring
Part One: The Adoration of the Earth
2. The Augurs of Spring
3. Dances of the Adolescents
4. Game of Abduction
5. Spring Rounds
6. Procession of the Sage
7. The Sage
Part Two: The Sacrifice
2. Mystical Circles of the Young Girls
3. Glorification of the Chosen One
4. Evocation of the Ancestors
5. Ritual of the Ancestors
6. Sacrificial Dance
The origin of The Rite of Spring is almost as famous as the riot which, just over three years later, greeted its first performance. Stravinsky relates in his autobiography how, while working on the final pages of The Firebird in the spring of 1910, he had a ‘fleeting vision’ …
‘A solemn pagan rite: sage elders, seated in a circle, watching a young girl dance herself to death. They were sacrificing her to propitiate the god of spring’.
The vision seems not to have been accompanied by musical ideas, but if it had been, they would hardly have been much like the music as we know it. In fact, the change in style over these three years probably took the composer as much by surprise as anyone. After all, the first sketches already date from September 1911, less than 18 months after the completion of his first ballet, and the following March he wrote to his teacher’s son Andrey that ‘it’s as if 20 years, not two, have passed since the composition of Firebird’.
After the ballet’s noisy premiere, by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 29 May 1913, Stravinsky spent much of the rest of his life denying the reality and creating a mythology around the work. He denied the presence in the music of authentic Russian folk materials; he even tried to disclaim the actual scenario, asserting in a Paris newspaper interview in 1920 that the ‘scenic realisation’ (by the Russian painter and ethnographer Nicholas Roerich) had been a mere convenience for a work ‘of purely musical construction’. Finally he denounced Nijinsky’s choreography, for which at the time he had expressed huge admiration. None of these disavowals hold much water.
That the score is based on folk music was conclusively proved by the publication of the sketchbook (1969), which includes specific notations of such material. The music itself rapidly became world-famous for two things: crashing dissonance and violent rhythm. At its heart, though, lies simple folksong, but layered in complex ways. This can immediately be heard at the very start, where the plangent high bassoon melody is contradicted by a still simpler tune on cor anglais, but set on C-sharp against the bassoon’s C naturals an octave above. Stravinsky found these colours at the piano (right hand white notes, left hand black).
‘[Stravinsky] pushed aside the pianist … and proceeded to play twice as fast as we had been doing and twice as fast as we could possibly dance!’
But the rhythms also descend from folksong and specifically from a Russian tradition of word-setting. The principle is cellular. You think of a tune as a compilation of tiny phrases, then build them up additively – the reverse of a classical composer with his four-beat bars and four-bar phrases. Stravinsky later explored these techniques in a refined, intricate way. But whatever he subsequently wrote, he never shook off the image of the wild man of modern music. And listening to The Rite of Spring, it is not hard to hear why.
Note by Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh is a well-known writer on music, the author of a major two-volume biography of Stravinsky and also a book on his music. He holds a Personal Chair at Cardiff University.
Image: Study of scene decoration for The Rite of Spring, 1944, by Nicholas Roerich
Third in a family of four sons, Igor Stravinsky had a comfortable upbringing in St Petersburg, where his father was Principal Bass at the Mariinsky Theatre.
In 1902 he started lessons with Rimsky-Korsakov, but he was a slow developer, and hardly a safe bet when Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes commissioned The Firebird in 1909. The success of that work encouraged him to remain in western Europe, writing scores almost annually for Diaghilev.
The October Revolution of 1917 sealed him off from his homeland; his response was to create a rural Russia of the mind, in such works as the peasant-wedding ballet Les Noces (1914–23). Before that was completed, a ballet based on 18th-century music, Pulcinella (1919–20), opened the door to a whole neo-Classical period, which was to last three decades and more. He also began spending much of his time in Paris and on tour with his mistress Vera Sudeikina, while his wife, mother and children lived elsewhere in France.
Up to the end of the 1920s, his big works were nearly all for the theatre (including the nine he wrote for Diaghilev). By contrast, large-scale abstract works began to dominate his output after 1930, including three symphonies, of which the first, Symphony of Psalms (1930), marks also his reawakened religious observance.
In 1939, soon after the deaths of his wife and mother, he sailed to New York with Vera, whom he married, and with whom he settled in Los Angeles. Following his opera The Rake’s Progress (1947–51) he began to interest himself in Schoenberg and Webern, and within three years had worked out a new serial style. Sacred works became more and more important, to end with Requiem Canticles (1965–66), which was performed at his funeral, in Venice in 1971.
Composer profile by Paul Griffiths Paul Griffiths has been a critic for nearly 40 years, including for The Times and The New Yorker, and is an authority on 20th and 21st-century music. Among his books are studies of Boulez, Ligeti and Stravinsky. He also writes novels and librettos.
Sir Simon Rattle
Sir Simon Rattle was born in Liverpool and studied at the Royal Academy of Music. From 1980 to 1998, he 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 the position of Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic where he remained until the end of the 2017/18 season. He became Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra in September 2017.
Sir Simon regularly tours within Europe, North America and Asia, and has long- standing relationships with the world’s leading orchestras. Initially working closely with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Boston Symphony Orchestras, Simon has also recently worked with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera. Sir Simon is also a Principal Artist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Founding Patron of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.
Sir Simon Rattle was knighted in 1994. In the New Year’s Honours of 2014 he received the Order of Merit from Her Majesty the Queen.
Image: Ranald Mackechnie
Embodying music with an unparalleled dramatic sensibility, soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan is an artist at the forefront of creation. Her artistic colleagues include Christoph Marthaler, Sir Simon Rattle, Sasha Waltz, Kent Nagano, Vladimir Jurowski, John Zorn, Andreas Kriegenburg, Andris Nelsons, Reinbert de Leeuw, David Zinman, Sir Antonio Pappano, Katie Mitchell, Kirill Petrenko, and Krszysztof Warlikowski.
As a singer and conductor, the Canadian musician has shown a profound commitment to the music of our time and has given the world premiere performances of over 85 new creations. Hannigan has collaborated extensively with composers including Boulez, Zorn, Dutilleux, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Sciarrino, Barry, Dusapin, Dean, Benjamin and Abrahamsen.
Barbara Hannigan’s 2019/2020 season marked the beginning of her Principal Guest conductor role at Gothenburg Symphony. She also continues her acclaimed work with Equilibrium Young Artists mentoring initiative, which she launched in 2017.
Hannigan’s first album as both singer and conductor, Crazy Girl Crazy (2017), won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal album. Other recent albums include Vienna: fin de siècle, and Satie’s Socrate, both with pianist Reinbert de Leeuw. In 2020 she will release her next anticipated album on Alpha Classics. April 2020 will see Hannigan awarded the prestigious Léonie Sonning Music Prize.
Image: Elmer de Haas
The LSO was established in 1904 and has a unique ethos. As a musical collective, it is built on artistic ownership and partnership. With an inimitable signature sound, the LSO’s mission is to bring the greatest music to the greatest number of people.
The LSO has been the only Resident Orchestra at the Barbican Centre in the City of London since it opened in 1982, giving 70 symphonic concerts there every year. The Orchestra works with a family of artists that includes some of the world’s greatest conductors – Sir Simon Rattle as Music Director, Principal Guest Conductors Gianandrea Noseda and François-Xavier Roth, and Michael Tilson Thomas as Conductor Laureate.
Through LSO Discovery, it is a pioneer of music education, offering musical experiences to 60,000 people every year at its music education centre LSO St Luke’s on Old Street, across East London and further afield.
The LSO strives to embrace new digital technologies in order to broaden its reach, and with the formation of its own record label LSO Live in 1999 it pioneered a revolution in recording live orchestral music. With a discography spanning many genres and including some of the most iconic recordings ever made the LSO is now the most recorded and listened to orchestra in the world, regularly reaching over 3,500,000 people worldwide each month on Spotify and beyond. The Orchestra continues to innovate through partnerships with market-leading tech companies, as well as initiatives such as LSO Play. The LSO is a highly successful creative enterprise, with 80% of all funding self-generated.
Image: Ranald Mackechnie
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Join us for our next full-length concert
Thursday 30 April 2020 7.30pm BST
Adams & Berlioz
John Adams Harmonielehre
Berlioz Symphonie fantastique
Sir Simon Rattle conductor