Press release: Sir Simon Rattle presents midsummer open air concert in Trafalgar Square

BMW Classics returns to Trafalgar Square on Sunday 30 June 2019 with Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra for London’s largest open-air classical music concert.

This free midsummer concert highlights the continued partnership between BMW and the LSO, providing access to superlative live music in one of the world’s most iconic public spaces. And it heralds the beginning of the incredible summer programme of music that London has to offer.

With an audience of 7,000 people in the Square, the concert will once again be livestreamed on the Orchestra’s YouTube channel, reaching thousands more around the world. The LSO regularly streams concerts free from the Barbican and on tour.

The dance-inspired programme features music by Dvořák, Poulenc and Ravel. The highlight of BMW Classics 2019 will be the world premiere of a specially commissioned work by Bushra El-Turk. This new piece will bring together LSO musicians with 55 young musicians from East London in the LSO On Track programme and 20 Guildhall School of Music & Drama students.

Commenting on the event, Sir Simon Rattle said: ‘I was bowled over by the experience of BMW Classics last year and am thrilled to be back to share the stage with the London Symphony Orchestra, these talented young musicians, and to bring a new work by Bushra El-Turk to our audiences. This event highlights the fact that the enjoyment of hearing live orchestral music is not merely restricted to concert halls, and it can and should be accessible to everyone. Without BMW and the Mayor of London, holding a free event of this sort would not be possible, and I am hugely grateful to them.’

Nicolas Peter, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, said: ‘Thanks to our long-term partnership with the London Symphony Orchestra, this summer Trafalgar Square will once again be transformed into London’s biggest concert hall. So far over 100,000 listeners have tuned in onsite and online and it is our pleasure to welcome again London’s residents and visitors to enjoy another phenomenal free concert. We are especially delighted that it will be Sir Simon Rattle’s second time to perform with the London Symphony Orchestra for BMW Classics.’

Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Justine Simons said: ‘It’s great that Trafalgar Square will once again be transformed into an open-air concert hall, enabling thousands of Londoners and visitors to witness a thrilling performance of live music for free in the heart of the capital. I am also delighted that the next generation of musical talent will have the chance to perform alongside professional artists under the direction of world-renowned conductor Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra. It will be a great opportunity for these 55 talented young musicians at the start of their careers.’

Bushra El-Turk said: ‘What an exciting challenge to write for a mixed-ability orchestra made up of all the elements that mean so much to me. I am thrilled to be part of an unforgettable childhood experience for these young people, to work with the LSO, to pay tribute to my student years at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and, of course, to work with one of the world’s most respected conductors, Sir Simon Rattle in one of London’s most iconic venues, Trafalgar Square.’

Sir Simon Rattle & the London Symphony Orchestra
Sunday 30 June 2019 – Trafalgar Square, 5pm
Free, no ticket required. Early arrival essential. No glass or furniture in the Square.
Featuring music from Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances, Ravel’s La valse, Poulenc’s Suite les biches, and the world premiere of Tuqus by Bushra El-Turk.

Join the audience online in a free exclusive YouTube livestream:

Chris Millard, Head of Press & External Affairs

London Symphony Orchestra

Barbican Centre
Silk Street
+44 20 7382 2550


About the London Symphony Orchestra
The London Symphony Orchestra [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 and a programme of livestreamed concerts made available for free via the LSO YouTube channel. The LSO is a highly successful creative enterprise, with 80% of all funding self-generated.

About BMW Group’s Cultural Commitment
For almost 50 years now, the BMW Group has initiated and engaged in over 100 cultural cooperations worldwide. The company places the main focus of its long-term commitment on contemporary and modern art, classical music and jazz as well as architecture and design. In 1972, three large-scale paintings were created by the artist Gerhard Richter specifically for the foyer of the BMW Group's Munich headquarters. Since then, artists such as Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Daniel Barenboim, Jonas Kaufmann and architect Zaha Hadid have co-operated with BMW. In 2016 and 2017, female artist Cao Fei from China and American John Baldessari created the next two vehicles for the BMW Art Car Collection. Besides co-initiatives, such as BMW Tate Live, the BMW Art Journey and the “Opera for All” concerts in Berlin, Munich, Moscow and London, the company also partners with leading museums and art fairs as well as orchestras and opera houses around the world. The BMW Group takes absolute creative freedom in all its cultural activities – as this initiative is as essential for producing groundbreaking artistic work as it is for major innovations in a successful business.

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