BMW LSO Open Air Classics

An annual free, open-air concert in London’s Trafalgar Square.

Sunday 17 May 2015 6.30pm
Trafalgar Square, London

SHOSTAKOVICH Festive Overture
SHOSTAKOVICH Passacaglia and Burlesque from Violin Concerto No 1
SHOSTAKOVICH arr Gareth Glyn March, Polka and Waltz from Jazz Suites *

Valery Gergiev conductor
Nicola Benedetti violin
Paul Rissmann presenter
London Symphony Orchestra
LSO On Track *
Guildhall School musicians *

Download the concert programme (PDF)

The LSO was delighted to be joined by the captivating young violinist Nicola Benedetti, who performed movements from Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No 1, a tour-de-force of instrumental technique awash with subtle quotes from the likes of Beethoven and Stravinsky. Completing this all-Shostakovich programme was his Festive Overture, a rousing brass fanfare to the start the day and lead us through to his First Symphony, which ended it – a bold and dramatic, biting and satirical work completed when the composer was only 19-years old.

This event was the fourth annual concert in the BMW LSO Open Air Classics series, which brings the experience of live orchestral performance out of the concert hall and makes it available to everyone. This free performance in London’s iconic Trafalgar Square saw the Orchestra joined by members of LSO On Track, our educational initiative for young instrumentalists from East London, and together they showed a different side of Shostakovich, with a selection from his Jazz Suites in a special arrangement from Gareth Glyn.

Throughout the day presenter Paul Rissman guided the audience through the programme and large screens across the square ensured that everyone got the chance to see the action up close.

Event info

Getting in and out

Entry and exit to Trafalgar Square is via the Upper Terrace in front of The National Gallery at either end, and via the south east corner towards the entry for Charing Cross Tube station. The south west corner towards the Mall is for exit only.

What if it's full?

The lower part of the square will be filled up first; the upper terrace – where there are large screens onto which we will project the performance – will then be filled. We advise that you should arrive no later than 5.30pm to secure a place. Should the square fill completely, we will need to close the entrance barriers and it’s unlikely any further entry will be granted.


We have implemented the following measures to make the event as accessible and inclusive as possible for a wide range of audience members. We have a step-free level access area in the centre of the Upper Terrace with wheelchair spaces, companion seats, and seats for those who may have other access requirements. The area also has a hearing loop and large print programmes are available. The best entry points for this area are either side of The National Gallery. There is a portable accessible toilet near this area in addition to the accessible toilet within the permanent toilet block on lower part of the Square and a lift between the Square and the Upper Terrace. Assistance dogs are welcome.

Feeling comfortable?

Cushions are available to hire from carts at just £2 each. Toilets are located on the lower terrace towards the back; there’s a café in the square too.

What if it rains?

We’ll play on for as long as we can, but if the rain gets too heavy we’ll have to stop. There will be messages on the big screens and announcements made, so sit tight and we’ll keep you posted. We have plastic ponchos in case you’ve not got an umbrella or coat!

What time will it finish?

About 8.15pm

> More practical tips

Twitter hashtag #lsoopenair

Butterfly: BMW LSO Open Air Classics