£1.5 million donation kick starts London Symphony Orchestra's Always Playing Appeal

A £1.5 million donation from Elena and Alex Gerko, founder of XTX Markets, launches the London Symphony Orchestra’s investment appeal to sustain the next chapter in its 118 year-old history. This generous gift to the LSO offers seed funding to the Always Playing Appeal, which aims to raise a minimum of £5 million before summer 2021.

The donation follows on from the government’s Arts Recovery Fund grant on Monday 12 October when the LSO received £846,000.

As Sir Simon Rattle, Music Director of the LSO, and Sir Mark Elder, Music Director of the Hallé Orchestra, wrote in an open letter to The Times in June this year:

“We refuse to believe that live music will die, but it will not survive merely on energy and optimism. It will need support and understanding, particularly when it ventures out in public once more. The first year of performing with fewer musicians to smaller public will be our toughest time, and we will need a helping hand to make it through”

Alex and Elena Gerko said:

“We have enjoyed hundreds of LSO concerts over the last 15 years and are very happy to help the orchestra in these difficult times.”

Kathryn McDowell, Managing Director of the LSO thanked Alex Gerko for his gift:

“The importance of music and the arts has never been more apparent than in recent months, as we’ve been inspired, comforted and entertained throughout this unprecedented period. For the LSO, as for so many, 2020 has been exceptionally challenging, with the practical and financial impacts of lockdown, as well as ongoing social distancing, causing serious disruption to every part of our activities. To enable the LSO to rebuild and operate in the coming years in a way that is financially viable, we are launching an ambitious and potentially transformative Recovery Appeal. To have received this generous gift from Alex and Elena Gerko and further government support is a wonderful endorsement and start to the campaign, we are hugely grateful.”

These funds will help the LSO sustain its world-class status and the membership of outstanding musicians, and assist in the Orchestra’s returning to live performances, first in London and then further afield. It is also our ambition to expand our digital reach, as the demand grows, fulfilling our mission of sharing the greatest music with the greatest number of people, and helping develop new international streams of support.”

Always Playing was the title given to the series of regular free digital archive concerts, chamber performances and coffee break concerts that LSO delivered and the musicians played from their homes during the lockdown in March 2020 until their return to playing together as an Orchestra at the beginning of September at LSO St Luke’s. It perfectly captures the spirit and aims of the appeal.

> Appeal website


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Notes to editors

Alex Gerko is the Founder of fintech company XTX Markets. He and his wife Elena have been ardent supporters of charities/organisations across social mobility, mathematics and the arts in the UK for many years, including making major donations to UK maths schools, the Sutton Trust as well as the LSO to name a few.

His company XTX Markets this year made substantial donations to charities doing fantastic Covid-related work including the Great Ormond Street Children’s Charity, the Trussell Trust, as well as the first donation to the NHS Charities Together campaign.