Cameras followed Principal Conductor Edward Gardner and 13 players as they prepared to open the 2023/24 season with Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection)

The London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) is delighted to announce a new four-part documentary series on Sky Arts, beginning on Wednesday 13 March 2024: ‘Backstage with the London Philharmonic Orchestra’. The first three episodes follow LPO Principal Conductor Edward Gardner and players from the percussion, woodwind, string and brass sections as they prepare for the opening of the 2023/24 season: Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection). The final episode includes a full performance of the work, filmed live at the sold-out concert on 23 September 2023 at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, where the Orchestra is Resident.

The series showcases the meticulous preparation and routines of each section of the Orchestra, getting under the skin of the LPO’s talented musicians and processes which combine to create an orchestral masterpiece. Viewers will get to know the players personally, hear their inspiring stories of getting into professional music, see their deep knowledge of their instruments and learn about their specific roles within the Orchestra. Viewers will also hear Gardner and the players’ own insights into Mahler’s detailed score, allowing the listener to fully experience the final performance – which featured 118 musicians, 131 instruments and 200 members of the London Philharmonic Choir – during the fourth episode.

The episodes will be broadcast weekly, beginning on Wednesday 13 March, on Sky Arts between 9–10pm, with the final episode being between 9–11pm on Wednesday 10 April. Sky Arts is free to view on Freeview channel 36 and Freesat channel 147. Sky and Now TV entertainment pass holders can catch up on demand.

Edward Gardner, Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra says: ‘We thoroughly enjoyed filming this documentary series, knowing that we were showcasing both our wonderful orchestra and Mahler’s incredible score. Sky Arts viewers will be able to witness the LPO’s phenomenal family of musicians and staff through the process to performance, with hard work and absolute passion for the music. It will open up Mahler’s world, music and sheer magnitude of his Second Symphony; I remember vividly the electric atmosphere in the concert hall before the performance started, the journey that the audience, musicians and I went on together through Mahler’s transformation from death to life, and the eruption of applause as the piece triumphantly ended. I’m thrilled we can share the experience with an even wider audience on Sky Arts.’ 

For information on upcoming concerts and tickets, please visit lpo.org.uk