Press release: London Symphony Orchestra 2016/17 season at the Barbican

The London Symphony Orchestra today launches its 2016/17 season at London’s Barbican Centre, where the Orchestra has been Resident since it opened in 1982. An ambitious array of concerts are presented featuring the LSO’s close family of artists and guest stars. Highlights include:

  • Sir Simon Rattle conducts Ligeti’s Le grand macabre and two world premieres
  • Janine Jansen as LSO Artist Portrait performs three concertos and chamber music
  • LSO Principals perform as soloists with the Orchestra and in smaller ensembles
  • Five major choral works as part of the growing singing strand – LSO Sing

Great Choral Works
The LSO’s 2016/17 season opens on 18 September with the first of five major choral works performed in the Barbican Hall. Gianandrea Noseda conducts the LSO in Verdi’s Requiem with soloists Erika Grimaldi, Daniela Barcellona, Francesco Meli, Michele Pertusi and the London Symphony Chorus, with a second performance on 20 September. Since Simon Halsey’s appointment as LSO Choral Director in 2012 the Orchestra’s choral programme has rapidly gained in scale and ambition and this season also sees performances of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 2 (‘Hymn of Praise’) with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his Monteverdi Choir (16 & 20 October); John Adams’ El Niño, conducted by the composer (4 December); Fabio Luisi conducting Brahms’ German Requiem (19 March); and a performance of Bruckner’s Te Deum with conductor Bernard Haitink (28 May).

Sir Simon Rattle in the 2016/17 season
Sir Simon Rattle, the LSO’s Music Director Designate, will conduct two semi-staged performances of Ligeti’s Le grand macabre on 14 & 15 January, co-produced by the Barbican. Peter Sellars directs soloists Peter Hoare, Ronnita Miller, Pavlo Hunka, Heidi Melton, Audrey Luna, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Peter Tantsits and Joshua Bloom, with the London Symphony Chorus directed by Simon Halsey. The production follows that of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande in January 2016, the first in a series of semi-staged operas in the Barbican Hall. Rattle will also conduct the LSO in a concert featuring Mahler’s Symphony No 6 and the world premiere of Remembering by Mark-Anthony Turnage as well as the third in a series of newly commissioned children’s operas, 2017’s being by Andrew Norman on 9 July. This concert also features a performance of Sibelius’ Symphony No 2 in which Guildhall School musicians perform side-by-side with the LSO. Rattle’s last concerts of the season feature orchestral excerpts from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, Bartók’s Piano Concerto No 2 with Lang Lang as soloist, and An Imaginary Orchestral Journey based on Haydn’s symphonies and choral works. For this ten-part montage, Sir Simon has searched out the wittiest, most thoughtful and most eccentric moments in Haydn’s oeuvre. It includes ornate depictions of nature, a slow movement which repeatedly and unexpectedly breaks off, a deliberately messy opening orchestral tutti, and the famous ‘Farewell’, in which all the musicians, including the conductor, gradually clear the podium until only a lonely violin duet remains.

LSO Artist Portrait: Janine Jansen
In 2016/17 the LSO is delighted to invite violinist Janine Jansen back to the Barbican stage as LSO Artist Portrait, taking on three concertos from different eras. The first is Bernstein's Serenade, five movements that draw on the philosophy of Plato's Symposium to create an orchestral meditation on the nature of love, with Sir Antonio Pappano conducting the LSO. Nielsen’s Symphony No 4 and Sibelius' Oceanides complete the programme. Then a cornerstone of the repertoire, Brahms' Violin Concerto is performed alongside Strauss' Also sprach Zarathustra, under the baton of Valery Gergiev. Gianandrea Noseda conducts the third programme, Berg's Violin Concerto, a 20th century violin masterpiece, alongside Mahler's Symphony No 7. And, in collaboration with London's Wigmore Hall, there is the opportunity to witness Janine Jansen performing intimate recitals which showcase the violin in a number of chamber settings, featuring music by Brahms, Prokofiev, Poulenc and Schubert.

LSO Principals in the Spotlight
With some of the finest orchestral players among its ranks, the LSO regularly features its Principal players. As well as regular solo performances in the Barbican, players have worked on collaborations at LSO St Luke’s – such as Principal Percussion Neil Percy’s 2010 partnership with composer Tim Garland – as well as concerts with smaller ensembles such as the LSO String Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, Woodwind Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble, all having recently taken centre stage. The past few seasons have seen many LSO Principals performing as soloists with the Orchestra. In 2016/17 Principal Trumpet Philip Cobb is soloist in Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, and LSO Leader Roman Simovic will perform Bruch’s Violin Concerto No 1 with conductor Sir Antonio Pappano. Roman Simovic returns to perform Brahms’ Double Concerto with Principal Cello Tim Hugh and conductor Sir Mark Elder (18 May) and Tim Hugh and the LSO’s other Principal Cello Rebecca Gilliver join forces for a BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime recital in their Cellos series at LSO St Luke’s (13 April). The Brass Ensemble performs in the annual Christmas Concert on 21 December with the LSO’s choirs led by Simon Halsey.

LSO Conductors
Principal Guest Conductor Daniel Harding performs Mahler’s Symphony No 4 (25 September), and another Turnage premiere, the UK premiere of Håkan, written for trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger (15 February). Harding will also conduct Mahler’s Symphony No 3 on 25 June with alto Anna Larsson. Principal Guest Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas will perform with violinist Lisa Batiashvili in Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No 1 (4 June), and pianist Yuja Wang in Brahms’ Piano Concerto No 2 (8 June), in programmes which also include Tchaikovsky’s 6th and Nielsen’s 5th Symphonies. Conductor Laureate André Previn returns to the Barbican stage on 10 November for a performance of Dvořák’s Symphony No 8 and Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin, and his song cycle Shéhérazade, with mezzo-soprano Susan Graham. Former Principal Conductor Valery Gergiev conducts Prokofiev’s Symphony No 6 and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1 with soloist Barry Douglas on 29 and 30 November.

Three conductors make their LSO debuts this season. Alpesh Chauhan conducts Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration, and is joined by pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, also making his LSO debut, for Brahms’ Piano Concerto No 1, on 26 January. Alain Altinoglu conducts Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Themes, Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No 1 with soloist Gautier Capuçon, and Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloé complete ballet on 23 March.

The Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition takes place this season with the final on 17 November. The 2004 winner, Fabien Gabel makes his LSO main season debut in 2016/17, and François-Xavier Roth who won the competition in 2000 continues his 'After Romanticism' series. He conducts Bartók’s Piano Concerto No 3 with soloist Simon Trpčeski on 30 March, alongside Debussy’s Jeux and Mahler’s First Symphony. On 23 April he is joined by violist Antoine Tamestit for Bartók’s Violia Concerto, and conducts Bruckner’s Symphony No 4 and Debussy’s Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune.

Full listings information for the LSO’s 2016/17 season can be found here:

Notes to editors

For further press information please contact:
Kenny Morrison at Hatcham Communications
Tel: +44 7834 061295 or +44 20 7207 9481
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About the London Symphony Orchestra

The 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. Through LSO Discovery, it is a pioneer of music education, offering musical experiences to 60,000 people every year. With the formation of its own recording label LSO Live in 1999 the LSO pioneered a revolution in recording live orchestral music. The LSO strives to embrace new digital technologies – having successfully moved into digital film, Blu-Ray Audio, downloads and streaming – and it continues to innovate with platforms such as LSO Play, a web-based video player that allows people to observe the Orchestra from different angles. The LSO is also a highly successful creative enterprise, with 75% of all funding self-generated.