London Symphony Orchestra
The LSO was founded in 1904 as the first independent and self-governing orchestra in England . About half of the musicians were previously in the Queen's Hall Orchestra. The reason for the founding of their own orchestra was the rebellion against the prohibition of the "representative" system pronounced there. (With this system, which was common at the time, musicians could send deputies to rehearsals and even concerts if they had other, more lucrative opportunities to perform that day. In the LSO, this procedure was then also banned from 1929 to ensure the quality of the performance.) The first chief conductor was Hans Richter , who conducted the founding concert on June 9, 1904. From the beginning, the orchestra worked closely with English composers such as Edward Elgar and Ralph Vaughan Williams .
In 1906 a concert took place in Paris , the first guest performance by a British orchestra abroad. The first guest appearance outside Europe took place in the USA and Canada in 1912 under the conductor Arthur Nikisch. The LSO gave a total of 29 concerts at 23 different venues within 22 days. Further trips took the LSO to South Africa (1956), Israel (1960) and Japan (1963). The first world tour took the LSO in 1964 to Israel, Turkey, Iran, India, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and the USA. The celebrated debut at the Salzburg Festival took place in 1973. Since then, the orchestra has been touring the whole world regularly, there are special connections to the United States through the LSO American Foundation , and annual concerts are held at New York's Lincoln Center . Furthermore, the orchestra has performed regularly in the Salle Pleyel in Paris since 2006 - with around four performances per year.
When the new Barbican Center was completed in 1982 , it became the orchestra's permanent home. The Barbican Hall , renovated in 2001, hosts his most important concerts. In 2003 the LSO St Luke's, UBS and LSO Music Education Center was also opened. This listed church, built in 1728, had been in ruins for 40 years and now, after the reconstruction, contains additional rehearsal and administration rooms in addition to the Jerwood Hall for concerts. The LSO St Luke's is also the center of the excellent LSO Discovery -Programms which musical development work with children and young people, the potential concert audience of the future makes. The orchestra's efforts to introduce young audiences to classical music began as early as 1946 on behalf of the British Ministry of Education with the recording of the film The Instruments of the Orchestra . In this, the various instruments and groups of instruments of a symphony orchestra were presented and their interplay illustrated using the piece The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, composed especially for this film by Benjamin Britten .
The LSO's latest project to promote young musicians is the LSO on track , which was launched in 2008 and promotes young musicians from the east of London. Young musicians also have the opportunity to perform together with musicians from the LSO.
In addition to the Principal Conductor, since September 2017 Music Director Simon Rattle , the orchestra also has the positions of Principal Guest Conductor (currently Gianandrea Noseda and François-Xavier Roth ), Conductor Laureate (currently Michael Tilson Thomas ) and Conductor Emeritus ( André Previn ). In addition, it works constantly with other conductors and regularly organizes thematic concert series.
The LSO is constantly striving to promote contemporary classical music. In the first hundred years of its existence, 209 contemporary works were premiered. Of these, 57 were commissioned by the LSO as of 1964. There are also 78 works for which the British or European premieres were performed.
In 2001 and 2003 the orchestra took part in the international composition competition Masterprize and performed the compositions that made it up to the final selection in the final concerts .
The LSO has been promoting young British composers through the annual Panufnik Young Composers scheme since 2005 (the Polish composer Andrzej Panufnik himself received three composition commissions from the LSO and recorded the majority of his compositions with the LSO). Six composers each have the opportunity to do so to compose for the LSO and to experience and help shape the implementation of their compositions by the orchestra.
The LSO was ranked 4th among the best orchestras in the world in 2008 by the British specialist magazine Gramophone, according to an evaluation of a survey of music critics. It currently ranks highest among all British orchestras.
Beyond the concert hall
The LSO made a name for itself as an orchestra for film music at an early stage . As early as 1922, it performed at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden as an accompanying orchestra for a series of silent film performances. In 1935 the LSO recorded the music for Things to come (director: Alexander Korda , composition: Arthur Bliss ), the first film soundtrack with symphonic music specially composed for a film. With this soundtrack, a standard for film music that still exists today was created. (Up to this point, the music for films had largely only been recorded by smaller music ensembles.) The first known other examples with the involvement of the LSO were the music of John Greenwood to Elephant Boy (1937) , Richard Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto in Dangerous Moonlight (1941 ) and Cornish Rhapsody by Hubert Bath in Love Story (1944) . Later followed u. a. Star Wars (I-VI), Braveheart , Superman , The Bear , Project Brainstorm , Krull , Oz - A fantastic world , darling, I shrunk the kids , Wrong game with Roger Rabbit , Raiders of the Lost Ark and four of Harry Potter Films. In total, the LSO has recorded music for over 340 film soundtracks to date.
The orchestra was also always open to pop music , as shown by its participation in the recording of the number 1 hit One Moment in Time with Whitney Houston in 1988 or in the song As long as you can still live dreams with " Munich Freedom ". The orchestra's abilities were also evident in the recording of Ornette Coleman's crossover symphony Skies of America (1972).
Further examples of recording activities in a wide variety of music fields include: a. Apocalypse with the Mahavishnu Orchestra by John McLaughlin, Standing Stone by Paul McCartney , London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. 1 & 2 by Frank Zappa , Kolsimcha & London Symphony Orchestra with the Klezmer band Kolsimcha as well as the albums Schizophonia , Tarot Suite and The Hunting of the Snark by Mike Batt . Musicals were also recorded, for example in 1984 Chess .
The London Symphony Orchestra gained additional fame through numerous arrangements of various world-famous pop and rock tracks, which they released under the name "Classic Rock", such as Rick Wakeman's rock opera Journey to the Center of the Earth from 1974. The London Symphony Orchestra was more or less Co-founder of this music genre.
As a result of the extensive and varied recording activity in the most varied of musical fields, which has existed since 1913, the LSO is the orchestra in the world with the most recorded recordings. It has always sought to use the most advanced recording technologies. The orchestra's official discography lists more than 2,600 recording dates. In 2000, the LSO founded his own CD - label , LSO Live , inter alia, the Grammy -prämierte intake of Berlioz ' Les Troyens brought out. In total, LSO Live has already released more than 100 CDs / SACDs and DVDs / BDs.
In 2012, the LSO was the official orchestra for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games in London.
In 2013 the orchestra started the LSO Play project with the Boléro by Maurice Ravel . On this website it is possible to view a concert performance from four self-selectable camera positions within the orchestra. Information about the individual instruments or instrument groups and musicians of the LSO is also available. Although initially only started playing a piece of music, it received the jury prize in the music category of the Webby Award in 2014 .
1904–1911 Hans Richter
The commitment of the then 61-year-old, who was also experienced with other British ensembles, Austro-Hungarian conductor Hans Richter for the opening concert and as the first chief conductor was a coup for the orchestra's founders. The quality requirements he set corresponded to the self-imposed demands to form an outstanding orchestra modeled on the Vienna Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic . Since he only conducted about five concerts per year as chief conductor, the concept of guest conductors was necessarily found through the LSO.
1911–1912 Edward Elgar
The fact that Edward Elgar was chief conductor of the LSO for only one year does not reflect the true meaning of the composer's thirty year relationship with the orchestra. He was a guest conductor in the first season of the LSO and the conductor in the LSO's first regional tour in 1905 to Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Bradford. The first world premieres by the LSO were “Pomp and Circumstances March No.3” and “Introduction and Allegro for String Orchestra” in 1905, both composed by Elgar and conducted at the world premiere. Further world premieres and London premieres of compositions by Elgar followed, some of which he conducted himself. From the end of the 1920s, the record company HMV recorded the composer's complete works with the LSO and other British orchestras. In this context, the violin concerto op. 61 was recorded in July 1932 with the 17-year-old Yehudi Menuhin and the LSO under Edward Elgar.
1912–1914 Arthur Nikisch
Without Arthur Nikisch, the US tour of the LSO in 1912 would not have been possible. The New York concert organizer Howard Penn originally had different expectations regarding the orchestra, because Nikisch was also Gewandhauskapellmeister in Leipzig and chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic at the same time . However, Nikisch managed to carry out this tour with the LSO. The first LSO recordings were made under his direction in 1913 and 1914 on the HMV label . Arthur Nikisch was unable to continue his work as chief conductor of the LSO because of the beginning of the First World War, because he continued to work as chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic.
1915–1917 Thomas Beecham In
1909 Thomas Beecham conducted the LSO for the first time. The LSO also benefited from its financial support for concert life in London during the First World War. From 1915 he de facto, if not explicitly named, took the position of chief conductor of the LSO for one season.
1919–1922 Albert Coates
Albert Coates learned conducting with Arthur Nikisch . Before he came to London, he was engaged in Saint Petersburg. Because of the uncertain situation as a result of the revolution there, he came to England. His preferred repertoire was that of the Russian masters. He had the gift of attracting a certain clientele of wealthy patrons, from which the orchestra could of course also benefit. However, this sometimes involved demands with regard to the repertoire that the orchestra could not follow. He was involved as a conductor on several recordings as part of the LSO's three-year contract with the British record company Columbia in 1919. For many years afterwards, he repeatedly conducted recordings for the orchestra. After completing his tenure as chief conductor, the LSO had no chief conductor for seven years, but worked with several renowned guest conductors.
1930–1931 Willem Mengelberg
Willem Mengelberg brought it to world fame during his long tenure with the Concertgebouw Orchestra . The prerequisite for his engagement as chief conductor was the termination of the deputy system in the LSO.As a result of his intensive, detailed rehearsal work with individual orchestra groups, which he carried out for one season from 1930 onwards, the orchestra made significant progress in terms of interplay, sound and intonation.
1932–1935 Hamilton Harty
The Irishman Hamilton Harty had been the permanent conductor of the Hallé Orchestra since 1920 . As chief conductor of the LSO, he continued to improve the orchestra's musical standards, but his concert programs did not have the commercial success he had hoped for. He conducted recordings with the LSO as early as 1919, and more followed during his time as chief conductor. After his time as chief conductor, the LSO had no chief conductor for 15 years.
1951–1954 Josef Krips
Josef Krips has been making recordings with the LSO since 1947. After a joint concert at the Royal Albert Hall in December 1948, the desire arose to bind him as the next chief conductor. However, it took until 1951 to end his Vienna commitments. As a native of Vienna, he was particularly familiar with the Austrian and German symphonic repertoire. As chief conductor, he helped the orchestra to achieve a more homogeneous, less individual style of the individual orchestra musicians. Every March he gave a Beethoven cycle with the LSO, including all symphonies. After his time as chief conductor, he continued to make recordings with the LSO. The complete recording of all Beethoven symphonies from 1960 should be emphasized here.
1960–1964 Pierre Monteux
The French-American conductor had been known to the LSO since 1957 through extensive joint music recordings and joint concerts. During the Wiener Festwochen 1961, at which the LSO made a guest appearance with the three conductors Georg Solti , Leopold Stokowski and Pierre Monteux, an agreement was reached that the 86-year-old Pierre Monteux should be the next chief conductor (with a 25-year contract ). Monteux had known Debussy , Ravel and Stravinsky personally and had premiered several of their works. As a result, his bond with the LSO greatly enriched the orchestra's repertoire. The recording activity with Monteux was also increased during his time as chief conductor. Monteux could only fulfill three years of his contract with the LSO since he died on July 1, 1964.
1965–1968 István Kertész
The Hungarian conductor, born in 1929, left Hungary in 1956 and since then has mainly worked as a conductor in Germany. István Kertész had already conducted the LSO as a guest conductor in 1960. The musicians chose him as their chief conductor because the majority believed that the orchestra could achieve the best results musically with him. He gave his first concert as chief conductor in 1965. His time as chief conductor was characterized by very intensive rehearsals in preparation for excellent concerts. His favorite composer Antonín Dvořák and the Hungarian composers, such as B. Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály . For the extension of his contract he demanded extensive decision-making rights and co-determination rights in the orchestra management, for example with regard to the filling of positions that the orchestra management could not grant him due to the rules of the orchestra's self-administration. That is why his contract as chief conductor was not extended beyond 1968. He stayed with the LSO as a guest conductor. In the years 1963–1970 he made extensive recordings together with the LSO.
1968–1979 André Previn
The Berlin-born American composer, arranger, conductor and jazz pianist was elected chief conductor in 1968 with a narrow majority. He learned conducting from Pierre Monteux . Since 1967 he was chief conductor of the Houston Symphony Orchestra . Since he was better known as a Hollywood composer and arranger (where he had worked since 1946) as well as a jazz pianist and had only conducted large symphonic orchestras for a relatively short time, this decision met with certain reservations. However, this choice turned out to be a stroke of luck in terms of the requirements the LSO faced at the time. The new chief conductor should namely u. a. be a recognized musician, be able to plan ahead and generate more publicity. With Previn, the LSO carried out five major tours in the USA, one in Russia and two in Japan. He conducted the orchestra at the first concert during its debut at the Salzburg Festival in 1973. The LSO's repertoire was expanded to include many compositions by British composers, whose works have been performed again or premiered. With the BBC series "André Previn's Music Night", which he carried out with the LSO, he gave the orchestra a regular large audience like never before. From 1965 to 1993 he carried out a total of over 110 studio recording appointments with the LSO, mostly each with several recorded works, including over 80 during his time as chief conductor. At eleven, his time was the longest ever to have been an LSO chief conductor. He is associated with the LSO as "Conductor Emeritus".
1979–1988 Claudio Abbado
The Italian conductor and artistic director of La Scala in Milan (from 1969 to 1986) conducted the LSO for the first time in 1966 and had been LSO's principal guest conductor for several years, so it was hardly surprising when he was born in 1979 was elected chief conductor of the LSO. Abbado worked hard and intensively with the orchestra, which at the time already had an extremely packed rehearsal, concert and recording schedule with music of all genres. Thanks to his requirements, concerts of the highest musical quality could be given. The era of the thematic concert series of the LSO began with the concert series “Mahler, Vienna and the Twentieth Century”, which he initiated in 1985. The Barbican Center opened in 1982 during his time as chief conductor, but after the initial enthusiasm for the new venue, it became apparent acoustic problems and, as a result, falling visitor numbers with resulting financial problems for the orchestra (the acoustics were then fundamentally revised during the reconstruction of the concert hall in 2001/2002). Only with the above and further concert series as well as additional organizational changes, the financial problems of the LSO could be eliminated. Claudio Abbado made a number of recordings with the LSO , initially for the DECCA record company , then primarily for Deutsche Grammophon . Abbado ended his activity at the LSO because of the offer of a position in the wider area of the Vienna Philharmonic .
1988–1995 Michael Tilson Thomas
The US-American conductor, pianist and composer Michael Tilson Thomas (also called MTT) made his debut as a conductor at the LSO in 1970 and is a student of Leonard Bernstein (LSO President 1987–1990). He expanded the LSO's repertoire to include hitherto little-known American composers and compositions as well as new contemporary works, and commissioned compositions. He opened each new season with a new work. At concerts he communicates with the audience to make it easier for them to access the works. In interviews and discussions with journalists, he also gives detailed information on the choice of music and the pieces. Michael Tilson Thomas has developed and carried out several thematic concert series with the LSO, e.g. B. to the music of Steve Reich , George Gershwin , Johannes Brahms , Tōru Takemitsu , Nicolai Rimski-Korsakow , Claude Debussy and Gustav Mahler . 1993 Tilson Thomas takes the six-part TV series Concerto! With LSO and Dudley Moore. for the station Channel 4. His “Discovery” concert lessons with the LSO were taken over by BBC television. Of the tours undertaken by Tilson Thomas with the LSO, the 1990 tour with Leonard Bernstein to Japan with a two-week residency at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo is particularly noteworthy. They passed their knowledge on to hundreds of young talented musicians in lessons and master classes. Michael Tilson Thomas has made a number of recordings with the LSO. Among them were about 15 recordings of contemporary works a. a. by Steve Reich , Colin Matthews, Leonard Bernstein and Dominic Muldowney . He has also recorded two albums by jazz musician John McLaughlin and a ballet music by Elvis Costello with the LSO . Currently Michael Tilson is Thomas “Conductor Laureate” of the LSO.
1995–2007 Sir Colin Davis
Colin Davis was the first guest conductor of the LSO in 1959. In 1960 he appeared with the orchestra at the BBC Proms . In 1964 he conducted the orchestra on its first world tour (USA, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong). In 1975 he was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the LSO. When he was elected chief conductor in 1995, the orchestra was already very familiar with him due to the longstanding, regular collaboration. This in turn enabled a new quality of performance to be achieved in terms of richness of sound, harmony and artistic individuality. Slowly but noticeably, the basic sound of the orchestra changed under his direction. The LSO also performed a number of world premieres of contemporary compositions under Davis, including: a. by Michael Tippett , Hans Werner Henze , Colin Matthews, James MacMillan , Richard Bissill and Karl Jenkins . Colin Davis has carried out a total of 140 recording appointments with the LSO, thus exceeding the recording activity of André Previn with the orchestra. The label LSO Live was founded in 2000 at the suggestion of Colin Davis in order to preserve successful concert performances and also to make them accessible to the general public at an affordable price. Colin Davis has recorded more than 45 of the recordings for LSO Live. Colin Davis is the longest tenured chief conductor in the history of the LSO. He remained associated with the LSO as President from 2007 until his death in 2013.
2007–2015 Valeri Abissalowitsch Gergijew
The Moscow-born conductor of Ossetian descent has been the director and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg for over 25 years . The first series of concerts in the Barbican Center with him as chief conductor was a sold out Gustav Mahler cycle. The charismatic conductor also caused a stir with his Prokofiev cycle in the 2008/2009 season. He has conducted the orchestra in addition to the concerts in the Barbican Center at the BBC Proms , the Edinburgh International Festival and on extensive tours through Europe, North America and Asia. At the first “LSO Open Air” concert in Trafalgar Square in 2012, he conducted the LSO in a concert with free entry in front of around 10,000 listeners. LSO Live supported the new CD, SACD and DVD label of the Mariinsky Theater Saint Petersburg u. a. through the possibility of marketing on the LSO website.
since 2017 Simon Rattle
On March 3, 2015, the LSO announced that Simon Rattle will take over the role of "Music Director" from September 2017. The conductor, born in Liverpool in 1955, conducted the LSO for the first time during a recording in May 1977. The concert debut with the LSO followed in October 1977. After that, there were initially few joint activities for a long time. A major focus of his activities with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (1980–1998) and the Berliner Philharmoniker (since 2002) was promoting the music of the 20th century and promoting contemporary classical music. In recent years, the joint performances and activities with the London Symphony Orchestra have been significantly increased. The joint appearance at the opening event of the 2012 Olympic Games in London received a lot of attention. The official inaugural concert as Music Director of the LSO took place on September 14, 2017. In this concert, four contemporary works by British composers were performed in addition to a work by Edward Elgar .
In its history, the LSO has worked with a large number of well-known guest conductors. Among the most important were and still are today. a .:
Marin Alsop , Sir John Barbirolli , Leonard Bernstein , Karl Böhm , Pierre Boulez , Adrian Boult , Benjamin Britten , Édouard Colonne , Antal Doráti , Wilhelm Furtwängler , Eugène Goossens , Bernard Haitink , Daniel Harding , Vince Mendoza , Kent Nagano , Seiji Ozawa , Simon Rattle , Mstislav Rostropovich , Sir Malcolm Sargent , Georg Solti , Fritz Steinbach , Leopold Stokowski , Richard Strauss , John Williams , Ralph Vaughan Williams and Sir Henry Wood .
Awards for music sales
|Country / Region||silver||gold||platinum||Sales||swell|
|Awards for music sales
(country / region, awards, sales, sources)
|Germany (BVMI)||-||5 × gold5||-||1,250,000||musikindustrie.de|
|Switzerland (IFPI)||-||2 × gold2||-||50,000||hitparade.ch|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||7 × silver7th||6 × gold6th||2 × platinum2||1,760,000||bpi.co.uk|
|All in all||7 × silver7th||13 × gold13||2 × platinum2|
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- Jon Tolansky: The London Symphony Orchestra - Hundred Jahre einer Legende , pp. 100-102, in the book accompanying the CD set London Symphony Orchestra (1904-2004) The Centennial Set Andante AN4100, 2004
- Gareth Davies: THE SHOW MUST GO ON, On Tour With the LSO in 1912 and 2012 . Elliott Thompson Limited, London 2013, ISBN 978-1-908739-80-3 , pp. 246-247.
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- Historic Houses and Gardens . Norman Hudson & Company, Banbury 2003, ISBN 1-904387-00-4 , p. 75.
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- Recordings | London Symphony Orchestra , Retrieved April 29, 2015
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- Jon Tolansky: The London Symphony Orchestra - Hundred Jahre einer Legende , pp. 111–114, in the book accompanying the CD set London Symphony Orchestra (1904–2004) The Centennial Set Andante AN4100, 2004
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- Sir Simon Rattle | London Symphony Orchestra , reported March 3, 2015, accessed April 29, 2015
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