Press release: London celebrates as Simon Rattle launches first season with the LSO

-British music takes centre stage
-Fanfares and outdoor big screen relay of opening concert
-Live concerts broadcast and streamed across London and the world
-Young Londoners aged 11–18 join Simon Rattle to perform Elgar's Enigma Variations

The curtain is raised on Thursday 14 September on Sir Simon Rattle’s debut as Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra [LSO], launching This is Rattle, 11 days of special concerts, events and installations, running at the Barbican Centre, LSO St Luke’s and the Guildhall School’s Milton Court Concert Hall, until 24 September. He also becomes Artist-in-Association with the Barbican and the Guildhall School.

The opening concert in the Barbican Hall on 14 September, conducted by Simon Rattle, will feature an all-British programme, including the world premiere of Fanfare by Helen Grime, commissioned for the LSO by the Barbican, and culminating in a performance of Elgar’s ‘Enigma’ Variations, broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and across Europe on Mezzo TV. The LSO’s concerts with Simon Rattle across the 11 days will be broadcast or streamed around London and the world, by BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, Mezzo TV, Medici TV. The last concert on Sunday 24 September will be live streamed by the LSO on YouTube.

A live HD broadcast of the opening concert will be beamed outdoors on to a big cinema screen in the Barbican’s Sculpture Court, played onto personal headsets, ‘silent disco’ style, and audiences in the Centre will be heralded by choral fanfares performed by LSO Discovery Choirs.

On Sunday 24 September, Simon Rattle will conduct an orchestra consisting young musicians aged 11–18 from across East London, LSO players and musicians from the Guildhall School, all playing side-by-side on the Barbican stage, performing music from Elgar’s Enigma Variations and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.

The programme over eleven days features a rollcall of Britain’s greatest living composers and introductions to the newest British talent. Music by Thomas Adès, Sir George Benjamin, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Patrick Brennan, Helen Grime, Oliver Knussen, and Colin Matthews, alongside performances of works by British masters, including Benjamin Britten and Edward Elgar. Evening concerts will see Simon Rattle conduct the LSO in Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust, and Stravinsky’s three great Diaghilev ballets, including The Rite of Spring. The BBC Singers, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, the Britten Sinfonia, musicians from the Guildhall School, the London Symphony Chorus, and young musicians from across East London will all join the LSO in welcoming Simon Rattle with performances across the 11 days. 

Throughout the celebrations, there will be free access to music for all ages featuring exceptional talent drawn from LSO Community and Youth Choirs, and young musicians from the Guildhall School, in the Barbican Centre’s expansive foyers and at LSO St Luke’s. Two new digital artworks relating to Elgar’s Enigma Variations will also feature, and the Barbican Music Library hosts a Simon Rattle Exhibition. BBC Radio 3 will be in residence at the Barbican throughout, hosting exhibitions and interactive workshops.

Sir Simon Rattle said: “It is a huge moment in my life to be able to return to the UK and work with the orchestra I love. My ambition is to open up the electrifying experience of music and share my passion for music making with as many people as possible, whatever their age or whatever their background.”

For full details of the programme and how to book:

For further press information please contact:Kenny MorrisonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.: +44 (0) 7834 061295, or +44 (0) 20 7207 9481

Notes to Editors

This is Rattle is presented by the London Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with the Barbican and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. It is part of Culture Mile, a major destination for culture and creativity in the Square Mile.

New digital artworks, jointly commissioned by the Barbican and the LSO: Interlock: Friends Pictured Within is devised by Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning with musician Anna Meredith and artist Jonathan Munro. 

Less than Thirteen is a new digital work from award-winning artistic duo Cleary Connolly.

About Sir Simon Rattle
Sir Simon Rattle was born in Liverpool and studied at the Royal Academy of Music. He becomes Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra in September 2017 and an Artist-in-Association with the Barbican and the Guildhall School. In 1980 at the age of 25 he became Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser (later Music Director) of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Under his leadership the orchestra gained a reputation as one of the finest in the world, and he was instrumental in the creation of its new home, Birmingham Symphony Hall, which opened in 1991 and is considered to be among the world’s best concert halls. In 2002 he became Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Berlin Philharmonic, and steps down from that role in 2018.

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. 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. 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 record 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, streaming and virtual reality – 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 80% of all funding self-generated. For more information on the London Symphony Orchestra, please visit  

About the Barbican 
A world-class arts and learning organisation, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Its creative learning programme further underpins everything it does. Over 1.1 million people attend events annually, thousands of artists and performers are featured, and more than 300 staff work onsite. The architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, the Pit, Cinemas One, Two and Three, Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery The Curve, foyers and public spaces, a library, Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory, conference facilities and three restaurants. The City of London Corporation is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre.Find us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube 

About the Guildhall School of Music & Drama 
The Guildhall School is a vibrant, international community of young musicians, actors and theatre technicians in the heart of the City of London. Twice-rated No.1 specialist institution in the UK by the Guardian University Guide, and recently selected as one of the top ten institutions for performing arts in the world (QS World University Rankings 2016), the School is a global leader of creative and professional practice which promotes innovation, experiment and research, with over 900 students in higher education, drawn from nearly 60 countries around the world. It is also the UK’s leading provider of specialist music training at the under-18 level with nearly 2,500 students in Junior Guildhall and Centre for Young Musicians. The School is widely recognised for the quality of its teaching and its graduates, and its new building, Milton Court which opened in September 2013, offers state-of-the-art facilities to match the talent within its walls, ensuring that students enter their chosen profession at the highest level.

About Culture Mile 
Culture Mile is a corner of London’s working capital, where creativity is fast becoming the most valuable currency. The City of London Corporation together with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of London, are leading the animation of the whole neighbourhood with imaginative collaborations and events. Culture Mile brings commerce and culture together in a wealth of creativity. Known meets unknown. Ancient and modern collide as the streets are activated by exhibitions, gigs, pop-ups and events. So whether you’re with family, friends or flying solo, there’s something for everyone. And thanks to Crossrail’s new Elizabeth Line connections at Farringdon and Moorgate, the area is more connected than ever. Join us today where two thousand years of history collide with the world’s best culture.