The LSO in World War I

One hundred years ago today on 4 August 1914, Britain declared war on Germany and entered what was to become one of the deadliest conflicts in history. Today, along with the rest of the world, the London Symphony Orchestra remembers the sacrifices made on all sides so that we might have a future.

The LSO is one of very few orchestras today that was operating during World War I, and the only London orchestra. Formed in 1904, the LSO had just celebrated its tenth anniversary when fighting broke out. We will be marking the centenary of the war in several ways throughout 2014–2018, both in our artistic programme and online.

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Yesterday on 9 June 2014 the LSO celebrated 110 years since its first concert on 9 June 1904, and we marked the occasion with a series of tweets of interesting facts about the LSO dug out of the less explored corners of our archive.

We have been thinking a lot about our archives recently, because we increasingly feel that it's important for our present and future to know where the Orchestra has come from and why the company is like it is.

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Interview: Dhafer Youssef

We talk a little with spellbinding oud master and vocalist Dhafer Youssef, who tells us about his latest album Birds Requiem and what to expect from its UK orchestral premiere with Kristjan Järvi and the LSO on Thursday 24 April.

There’s an interesting quote about the Birds Requiem album on your website: ‘I am waiting impatiently for the live performances so I can share these emotions and see this album, like the ones to come, evolve and take shape with the audience.’ In what direction might this Barbican concert with the LSO evolve?

I firmly believe that music solicits the senses, one needs to listen to it and feel it. Live performances are the final steps in the life of an album; the audience responds directly giving shape to the album. Of course every venue has its particularities. At the Barbican, I will be playing with my quintet along with the London Symphony Orchestra, which will bring another dimension to my music. I am really enthusiastic about it.

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LSO On Track in Trafalgar Square

Discovery Assistant Eamonn McElevey has been working with the LSO for just a few weeks. He writes this report of one of his first projects, LSO On Track at the BMW LSO Open Air Classics in Trafalgar Square.

On Sunday 11 May 2014, a packed Trafalgar Square watched and listened as the LSO gave another awe-inspiring performance amidst the hustle and bustle of busy London. The third item in the all-Prokofiev programme was Lieutenant Kijé, which was made somewhat more special as it included a group of talented, up-and-coming young musicians. Playing alongside their more experienced counterparts was no doubt a nerve-wracking experience but the performance was slick and professional and all involved did themselves proud.

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Discovering Early Years

Far away from the concert platform and involving our youngest participants, our early years work with children under 5 and their parents and carers is a side of the LSO’s work you don’t often get to see. Here’s a rare insight into the world of our mini music-makers…

By Natalie Chivers, Community Projects Manager; and Isabel Bedford, Community Projects Coordinator

LSO Discovery runs a series of early years workshops at our Music Education Centre, LSO St Luke’s, and at local children’s centres and nurseries. Led by our early years music specialist, Vanessa King, and supported by LSO players, the workshops are interactive, musically informative, and above all, a lot of fun.

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