The London Philharmonic Orchestra launches ‘Summer Sessions’, four hour-long chamber concerts performed by LPO musicians at the Orchestra’s rehearsal venue, Henry Wood Hall in south London. Each concert will be streamed for free on the Orchestra’s YouTube channel every second Wednesday evening beginning on Wednesday 15 July at 7.30pm. These concerts mark the first time LPO musicians will have performed together since mid-March when, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of the Orchestra’s remaining performances of the season were cancelled. These four concerts feature musicians from all the sections of the Orchestra, with strict social distancing rules in place to ensure the health and safety of the players and staff. 

Starting off the series on 15 July is an all-string programme featuring 24 LPO string players led by Pieter Schoeman, performing works by Corelli, Elgar and Grieg. The second concert, broadcast on 29 July, showcases the Orchestra’s wind section who will perform Rossini’s Sonata for Wind Quartet No. 1, Mozart’s Serenade in E flat and Janáček’s sextet Mládi. 12 August features the brass and percussion sections – maintaining a 3-metre distance between players – performing chamber works by past and present LPO members including Richard Bissill and Simon Carrington. The final concert in the series (broadcast on 26 August) is an all-Beethoven programme to celebrate the composer’s 250th anniversary. This final concert features LPO players alongside four musicians from the Orchestra’s Foyle Future Firsts Development Programme. The Foyle Future Firsts (FFF) programme offers an annual opportunity for 17 aspiring orchestral musicians to develop their talent and core professional skills. As part of the scheme, the FFF members rehearse, study and perform with LPO members in addition to receiving individual advice and mentoring from their LPO Principal. 

David Burke, LPO Chief Executive, commented:
“We are very excited to be taking these next steps back to live performances after one of the longest enforced breaks in our history. The Summer Sessions offer a special opportunity to get to know the sections of the Orchestra and its players through some of their favourite chamber music, clearly sharing the beauty of musicians making music together.”

Since lockdown began, the London Philharmonic Orchestra has continued to innovate and reach new audiences with a range of initiatives. LPOnline provides a series of free digital performances and insight videos; playlists reflecting the repertoire of cancelled concerts; and ‘Lean in and Listen’, a new series focussing on our national wellbeing that has engaged with hundreds of thousands of people. The Orchestra has partnered with prominent figures from the world of entertainment, such as Russell Brand, Jameela Jamil and Dermot O’Leary, to reach new audiences during these difficult times, encouraging listeners to take a few minutes to connect and reflect with their emotions through classical music.  The LPO has also continued to deliver many of its extensive Education and Community programmes through digital platforms. As Resident Orchestra of the Southbank Centre, the LPO remains in continuous dialogue about bringing music back to audiences as soon as possible.