Our Friday Lunchtime Concerts are a regular feature of LSO St Luke's events – free informal concerts featuring LSO players and musicians from the Guildhall School, exploring classical music, the musicians who play it and their instruments. This Friday's concert (29 April at 12.30pm) is a little different, and a little bit special as we are dedicating it to the people of Ukraine and raising money for the Disasters Emergency Comitteee's Ukraine Humanitarium Appeal.
The concert is the brainchild of LSO Double Bass Jani Pensola, who has curated the concert. He brings along with him 19 of his LSO string section colleagues – a rare chance to hear this elite group of players all together in this series, all of whom are donating their fee to the appeal. 'The concert is about solidarity between international artists, and celebrating culture and all that binds us,' says Jani. 'When I mentioned to my LSO friends that I was putting this concert together and raising funds for Ukraine, so many of them wanted to be involved that we ended up including a whole string section!'
Jani has also brought along a special guest performer, his friend the Finnish electric bassist Lauri Porra. Lauri is a well-known musician and composer, playing bass guitar in the Finnish power metal band Stratovarius and writing for a range of genres from symphony orchestras to TV and film. He is also the great-grandson of Jean Sibelius, and in this concert will introduce and perform two of his own works which will sit alongside one of his great-grandfather's works. Lauri also has a personal connection to the cause, being married to the Finnish conductor Dalia Stasevska (currently Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra), who was born in Kyiv.
Lauri Porra rehearsing with the LSO strings at LSO St Luke's, 28 April
'The support the Finns now show to the Ukrainians in their plight connects us with them in a profound way, and in particular the solidarity of the Finnish artist community has been heartfelt.' said Jaakko Nousiainen, Director of Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland, which has been supporting the publicity around the concert.
The programme is completed by a work by Ukrainian composer Bohdana Frolyak, Lux Aeterna, in a special arrangement made for this concert. Bohdana is thrilled to be taking part in the concert at this time, despite the fact that she initially had to relocate from her home city of Lviv for safety. She says, 'Lux Aeterna being performed in this concert is symbolic. Right now, more than in any other time, do we need the sense of Light, of the miracle of Peace and of Victory over evil. I dedicate this performance to the memory of all the people who were brutally murdered in this horrible war. May the shining of Eternal Light and Peace cherish Their Souls in Heaven.'
There will be opportunity at this concert to support the Disaster Emergency Committee's (DEC's) Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. DEC charities, and their local partners, are working to meet the immediate needs of people and will also help people affected by the conflict to rebuild their lives in the months and years to come. People will be able to donate at LSO St Luke's on the day, via text message – text ARTS to 70150 to donate £10 – or by visiting dec.org.uk.
The concert is free to attend and there is no need to book, simply turn up. For those not in London, the concert will be live streamed for free on the LSO YouTube channel, and will remain available to watch on demand after the live concert.
Friday 29 April 2022, 12.30pm
LSO St Luke's, London
Sibelius Canzonetta from 'Incidental Music to Kuolema'
Bohdana Frolyak Lux Aeterna
Prokofiev First movement from Sonata for Two Violins
Lauri Porra Abeyance; We lie down only to get up again
LSO String Ensemble
Lauri Porra electric bass
Rachel Leach presenter
Concert curated by Lauri Porra, Tom Norris & Jani Pensola.