The London Symphony Orchestra is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading orchestras. Since its formation in 1904, it has always attracted excellent players from all over the world, many of whom have flourishing solo, chamber music and teaching careers alongside their orchestral work.
The LSO’s roster of soloists and conductors is second to none, including Principal Conductor Valery Gergiev, André Previn as Conductor Laureate, and Daniel Harding and Michael Tilson Thomas as Principal Guest Conductors. Bernard Haitink, Pierre Boulez and Sir Simon Rattle are also regular guests.
The LSO is proud to be Resident Orchestra at the Barbican in the City of London, presenting over 70 concerts a year to its London audiences, and a further 70 concerts abroad on tour, and has thrived on the stability its permanent home has offered since 1982. In addition, the Orchestra has a successful annual residency at Lincoln Centre, New York, and is the international resident orchestra of La Salle Pleyel in Paris, also appearing regularly in Japan and the Far East, as well as in all the major European cities. From 2010–2013 the LSO was resident orchestra at the Aix-en-Provence Festival.
Outside the concert hall, the Orchestra’s many other activities include an energetic and ground-breaking education and community programme, a record company, a music education centre and pioneering work in the field of digital music.
LSO St Luke’s, the UBS and LSO Music Education Centre, which celebrated its 10th birthday in 2013, is the home of LSO Discovery, providing a unique mix of public and private events for people of every age and background. Through the technological facilities at LSO St Luke’s, the Orchestra’s education initiatives are offered regionally, nationally and internationally. In addition, LSO St Luke’s works with key artistic partners to present a varied programme of evening and daytime events, including BBC Radio and TV, Barbican and the Guildhall School.
The LSO is set apart from other international orchestras by the depth of its commitment to music education, reaching over 60,000 people each year. The award-winning programme, LSO Discovery, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2010, enables the LSO to offer people of all ages an opportunity to get involved in music-making and to enter the extraordinary soundworld of the Orchestra. As well as ongoing programmes that engage participants locally, nationally and internationally, through family concerts, Discovery Days and several thriving community groups, LSO On Track, a long-standing project involving young musicians from across East London, has given a platform to talented teenagers to appear in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, at outdoor concerts in Trafalgar Square, and also on Abbey Road recordings side-by-side with LSO musicians.
LSO Live is currently the most successful label of its kind in the world using the very latest recording technology to make the LSO's finest performances available to global audiences. To date, LSO Live has released over 80 recordings with artists including Sir Colin Davis, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink and Mstislav Rostropovich. The label's recordings have been widely acclaimed, attracting numerous Grammy, Gramophone and Classical Brit awards. As well as producing CDs and high-definition Super Audio CDs, LSO Live was one of the first classical labels to embrace downloads and use the internet to encourage new audiences to listen to classical music.
In 2008 the LSO launched the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, the world’s first-ever online orchestra, which was repeated in 2011. The LSO was the official Orchestra of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Ceremonies, memorably performing Chariots of Fire with Rowan Atkinson and conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. The LSO has also recorded music for hundreds of films, including Philomena, Pixar’s Brave, four of the Harry Potter films, The King’s Speech, Superman and all six Star Wars movies.