the public domain

Louder Than Words

In March 2019, over 500 people from all walks of life came together for a once-in a lifetime performance at the Barbican Centre.

From first-time singers to regular choir member, the London Symphony Orchestra and Choral Director Simon Halsey invited over 500 people from across London to perform the UK premiere of David Lang’s the public domain. Participation was completely free with no auditions and no requirement to read music.

American composer David Lang wrote the public domain in 2016. Searching for a way to capture shared experiences through music, he typed ‘One thing we all have is our …’ into the search engine Google, and used the auto-fill function to see how people around the world completed the sentence. He then used this information to compose the piece.

The new recruits joined forces with the London Symphony Chorus, the LSO Community Choir and the Waltham Forest Community Choir as they split into three groups for over two months of rehearsals. Lead by Simon Halsey and Stage Director Thomas Guthrie, the 500 voices rehearsed the piece with Conductors Esmerelda Conde Ruiz, Emily Dickens, Lucy Griffiths and David Lawrence, and Assistant Conductors Jessica Norton, James Naylor, Kristi Jagodin, Augustina Kapoti and Alexander Creamer.

On 24 March 2019, the 500 voices opened a London Symphony Orchestra concert in the foyers of the Barbican Centre, singing, whispering and chanting in an exhilerating and exciting performance.

Browse our gallery of images from the performance.

View the embedded image gallery online at:

Browse our gallery of images from the rehearsals.

View the embedded image gallery online at:

lso discovery.jpg         culture mile.jpg

The UK premiere of the public domain was supported by the Garfield Weston Foundation, John S Cohen Foundation, 29th May 1961 Charity, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust and LSO Friends.

Choir side image2 25x464