After an absence of six months from its Resident home, the London Philharmonic Orchestra returns to the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on 30 September to launch ‘In the Stream of Life’, a full Autumn season of 13 concerts.

For each concert the orchestral forces will comprise approximately 60 players, to be complemented by instrumental and vocal soloists. Edward Gardner, Principal Conductor Designate, opens the season with a programme of Widmann, Sibelius and Beethoven, and also taking charge of concerts over the three months are Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski, Principal Guest Conductor Karina Canellakis, and guests John Storgårds, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Thierry Fischer, Daniele Rustioni, Hannu Lintu and Thomas Søndergård.

The Orchestra is delighted to have secured a partnership with Marquee TV, the world’s leading arts streaming service. They will stream all 13 autumn 2020 concerts to their global audience with free access for the first 7 days, after which performances will be added to the LPO collection of concerts, and accessible to Marquee subscribers.

The concerts will be filmed and imaginatively envisioned in high-quality cinematic style by Silent Studios, making a virtue of an empty Royal Festival Hall to provide both a sense of space and intimate detail that is not normally possible. Cameras will capture backstage action, adding vibrancy and energy to performances in an empty house. The distinctive content is intended to capture the imagination of new audiences as well as providing a high-quality offering for the Orchestra’s loyal live concert audiences. Silent Studios has worked with rock and pop artists such as Brian Eno and Damon Albarn, and has built a reputation for creating immersive experiences. This project with the London Philharmonic Orchestra will be its first venture into the world of classical music. Silent Studios will work with the LPO’s audio recording partners K&A Productions who will provide the sound.

The choice of both repertoire and soloists (who include bass-baritone Gerald Finley, violinist Simone Lamsma and pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk) reflects the LPO’s original plans for the season. Ten of the programmes continue the 2020 Vision series which juxtaposes pivotal works from the 21st century with those composed a century and two centuries earlier. In addition to Jörg Widmann’s Con brio in the opening concert, the season features contemporary works by Julian Anderson, Anna Clyne, Jonathan Dove, Elena Kats-Chernin, Thomas Larcher, Magnus Lindberg, James MacMillan, Lotta Wennäkoski, and Brett Dean, who will be the LPO’s Composer-in-Residence through to 2023. The concerts streamed on 4 and 11 November will be broadcast live from the Royal Festival Hall at 7.30pm on BBC Radio 3 on 21 and 23 October respectively.

This ambitious season would not have been possible without the generous support of the Orchestra’s ticket buyers and donors over the last few months, and the range of innovative fundraising initiatives that it has undertaken, including its hugely successful virtual Gala.

Commenting on the Autumn 2020 season, the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Chief Executive David Burke said:
‘With so much upheaval and uncertainty over recent months, context and perspective have become ever more important.  We are reminded how for centuries orchestral music has offered people solace, hope and improved wellbeing. With this in mind this in mind we were determined to offer a full season or typically ambitious programmes to our audiences in the UK and overseas.

‘I wish to pay tribute to the players and staff of the London Philharmonic Orchestra who have risen to the many challenges posed by the pandemic with great creativity, commitment and determination to ensure that the power of orchestral music is still being brought to audiences around the world. It is an incredibly important next step to be able to bring the full Orchestra back to play together for the first time after so many months.’

‘Thanks must also go to our many supporters who have not only made this autumn season possible, but have enabled all players to receive a liveable income for as long as necessary.’

Simon Walker CEO and Co-Founder of Marquee TV said of the partnership: ‘It is Marquee TV’s core mission to offer arts organisations a global, digital platform that connects their performances with audiences worldwide. This historic moment has made a live-digital model like ours a necessity for the continued development and growth of the creative sector and our much-loved arts venues, companies and performers. We’re so excited to be working with the LPO to create a digital home for their new season and to bring their upcoming concerts to an audience hungry for new performances.’

Over the lockdown period the LPO has sustained its relationship with UK and international audiences through LPOnline, reaching hundreds of thousands of people. From initial individual player performances recorded at home, to online engagement initiatives such as its wellbeing strand Lean In and Listen, the Orchestra progressed over time to larger-scale split-screen performances.  In late June it brought together its musicians to play together in small chamber groups for the LPO Summer Sessions from Henry Wood Hall, and in August played to audiences with small-scale outdoor performances at Glyndebourne and indoor at Snape Maltings. The Autumn 2020 season sees the Orchestra take the next step towards performing full orchestral repertoire and will be ready to welcome audiences when legislation, logistics and finance permit.

Throughout the pandemic, the Orchestra has continued its commitment to deliver a substantial Education & Community programme. This includes giving online lessons and seminars to young talent strand participants, delivering a series of online creative music-making workshops for both adults and children with special educational needs and disabilities, and creating compositional resources with contributions from composers Howard Shore and David Arnold, and dancer/choreographer Monique Jonas. The annual Debut Sounds concert, featuring five emerging composers who have been mentored by Sir James MacMillan, will be recorded next week. Later in the autumn, the Orchestra will film several GCSE Music set works for secondary schools audiences.

The Orchestra has also been in the recording studio for Decca recording an album of operatic arias.

Detailed plans are also in place for a tour of Germany and Belgium in October details of which will be announced later, legislation permitting.