History

From its first days the London Symphony Orchestra has been defiantly different and proudly pioneering.

It was the first British orchestra owned by its players, and its fiercly independent ethos has never waned. It was one of the first orchestras to make gramophone records and film scores; today it has more recordings to its name than any other orchestra in the world. It was the first to have its own peak-time television series. And more than a century on, the revolution continues.

Now in its twelfth decade, the history of the LSO contains many of the important developments of British orchestral life, including premieres of now-popular works and relationships with some of the greatest conductors. In these pages you can find out more about the LSO and its rich history, about the works it has premiered, the famous names that have held the position of Principal Conductor, the film soundtracks it has recorded and about the archive of programmes, photographs, attendance sheets and publicity materials.

Explore each decade of the Orchestra's life in this Chronology, or use the menu to the right.

For a more in-depth story, you might like to purchase Richard Morrison's book, written for the LSO's centenary in 2004, Orchestra: A Century of Triumph and Turbulence, available from Amazon.