Peter Maxwell Davies

Peter Maxwell Davies

© Igor Emmerich

Sounds British

Composing Brits
Long-lasting relationships

Few composers can have enjoyed such a fruitful and long-lasting relationship with an orchestra than did Sir Edward Elgar with the LSO. It was a partnership that began in 1905, when Elgar directed two concerts in London’s Queen’s Hall as part of the LSO’s inaugural season. The culmination, however, was the inspirational series of recordings of most of his major works that the composer made with the Orchestra for EMI between 1926 and 1932, a project that included the legendary version of the Violin Concerto featuring the 15-year-old Yehudi Menuhin.

A remarkable legacy of which the LSO can be truly proud.
Andrew Achenbach, journalist

In 1931, Sir Hamilton Harty (the LSO’s then Principal Conductor) was anxious to secure the first performance of Walton’s eagerly anticipated symphony. In the event, Walton was unable to complete the work in time for its world premiere at Queen’s Hall on 3 December 1934, so the bold decision was made to perform its first three movements only. Harty and the LSO made the first commercial recording of the symphony in its entirety the following year – and electrifying it is, too! The same holds true for André Previn’s classic 1966 recording of the work, which heralded a golden period for the Orchestra on disc during which Previn set down all nine Vaughan Williams symphonies as well as other major works by Walton and Holst.

The LSO also played many times under Britten’s baton – and let us salute, too, Sir Colin Davis’ tireless and eloquent support of Tippett and James MacMillan. Other major figures to have benefited from the LSO connection include Bliss, Rawsthorne, Panufnik, John McCabe, Harrison Birtwistle, Oliver Knussen, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Huw Watkins and, last but not least, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (pictured), whose Tenth Symphony is receiving its world premiere under Sir Antonio Pappano in February 2014. It is a remarkable legacy of which the LSO can be truly proud.

The LSO Composition Journey

Composition is the life force of orchestras, the thing that keeps them alive and keeps them moving

The opportunity to get to know, share ideas with, and develop a community as the Soundhub cohort has been fantastic.
Alexander Hawkins, Soundhub Associate

A close relationship with composers is something that has been at the forefront of the LSO’s way of working from the very beginning. Soon after Kathryn McDowell’s appointment as Managing Director, Sir Colin Davis expressed his desire to commission more large scale works for the LSO. This enabled the LSO to strengthen its whole approach to the development and commissioning of new work, from nurturing the next generation of composers through to commissioning substantial pieces from major international figures. Over the past eight years we have worked with some of the world’s leading lights in the composition world – James MacMillan, Mark-Anthony Turnage, and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, to name just a few – and at the same time two major initiatives for young composers have blossomed: UBS Soundscapes: Pioneers and LSO Panufnik Young Composers. During this time we’ve formed partnerships with almost 70 composers from a variety of musical backgrounds – led by world renowned composer and long-term friend of the LSO, Colin Matthews.

LSO Discovery sees people of all ages and levels of experience as potential composers of the future. At the earliest stage this includes primary school children playing alongside LSO musicians to create their own response to a piece of repertoire. Immediately this empowers and engages the children by involving them directly in making their own music. We continue by giving teenagers opportunities to develop their composing skills, supporting both GCSE and A-Level work. Then in the Panufnik Young Composers scheme – the bridge between training and the profession – we work with six composers per year to write for the LSO. In the past 18 months we have developed a new initiative: LSO Soundhub provides a flexible space for composers to explore, collaborate and experiment. The Panufnik and Soundhub composers are also involved in mentoring our school aged participants, so they’re feeding back into the next generation. That’s the idea behind the composition ‘journey’ – we look forward to hearing the future works of all our composers!

British Composer Works

> Sun 29 Sep 2013
BRITTEN Four Sea Interludes
BRITTEN Sinfonia da Requiem
Gianandrea Noseda conductor

> Sat 11 Jan & 28 Jun 2014

> Thu 30 Jan 2014
UBS Soundscapes: Brahms
SIR PETER MAXWELL DAVIES Fanfare: Her Majesty’s Welcome
BRAHMS Violin Concerto
WALTON Symphony No 1
Sir Antonio Pappano conductor
Janine Jansen violin

> Sun 2 Feb 2014
ELGAR In the South (‘Alassio’)
BRITTEN Violin Concerto
SIR PETER MAXWELL DAVIES Symphony No 10 (world premiere, LSO commission)
Sir Antonio Pappano conductor
Maxim Vengerov violin

> Wed 5 Feb 2014
UBS Soundscapes: Dvořák
PANUFNIK Sinfonia Sacra
DVORAK Violin Concerto
DVORAK Symphony No 9 (‘From the New World’)
Michael Francis conductor
Anne-Sophie Mutter violin

> Fri 7 Feb 2014
François-Xavier Roth conductor

> Sun 23 Feb 2014
HUW WATKINS Flute Concerto (world premiere, LSO commission)
MAHLER Symphony No 1 (‘Titan’)
Daniel Harding conductor
Adam Walker flute

> Tue 20 May 2014
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No 1
Daniel Harding conductor
Paul Lewis piano

Event Calendar

< October 2013 >

13/14 season listings PDF

13/14 season listings PDF

Download a PDF of the complete season for easy browsing.


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