In a rare event for London, St Paul’s Cathedral will be transformed into a spectacular concert hall for Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra on Thursday 23 June 2022.
For his first ever concert at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Sir Simon has specially chosen Hector Berlioz’s rarely-performed musical spectacular, Grande symphonie funèbre et triomphale , one of the earliest examples of a symphony composed for a military band. Featuring over 100 musicians and a large chorus, it is scored for an array of brass, woodwind and percussion instruments, filling the dome of St Paul’s with sound. Three works by Olivier Messiaen featuring the Cathedral’s Grand Organ, complete this special programme, which will begin with a procession of musicians entering through the main doors of the Cathedral, denoting this unique occasion in the life of the City of London.
Sir Simon Rattle, Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra, said: ‘The Grande symphonie funèbre et triomphale was unprecedented when it was created: a towering monument in sound, written to be performed in an enormous public space and scored for a small army of marching musicians. We will start our event with more than eighty musicians processing from nearby Paternoster Square then go onto perform Messiaen’s Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum, another huge work for percussion, wind and woodwind which demands to be played in the open air or in suitably cavernous spaces.
‘It has been a dream for as long as I can remember to perform in St Paul’s Cathedral. In the heart of the City of London. It is a huge privilege for all of us. For so many reasons, this concert has special meaning. Bringing thousands of people together in hope with the power of music as the great convenor.’
It is five years since the London Symphony Orchestra performed in St Paul’s. The orchestra, resident at the Barbican Centre, from time to time makes special appearances in London outside the Centre. In 2018, they presented a performance of Stockhausen’s avant-garde landmark Gruppen in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. Each summer the orchestra takes to the open air for BMW Classics a free concert in Trafalgar Square.
Funds raised from the concert will be donated to the London Symphony Orchestra’s appeal, which ensures that they can continue the exceptional work they do in communities across London. This includes such boundary breaking projects as the LSO East London Academy, a programme to enable young people of talent in East London schools to develop their musical skills alongside the professional musicians of the LSO.
Kathryn McDowell, Managing Director of the London Symphony Orchestra said: ‘The privilege of being able to perform in St Paul’s Cathedral is exceptional. We are deeply grateful to our partners in the City of London for their support in making this possible, and ensuring that we are able to continue our work in the communities across the City and London more widely.’
Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, Wendy Hyde, said: ‘We are delighted the internationally renowned London Symphony Orchestra will be playing this landmark concert in the heart of the City. London is coming together and key arts events like this are helping drive our recovery from the pandemic.’
Thursday 23 June 2022
St. Paul’s Cathedral, London
Berlioz Marche funèbre from ‘Grande symphonie funèbre et triomphale’ (procession)
Messiaen Communion & Sortie from ‘Messe de la Pentecôte’
Messiaen Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum
Messiaen Apparition de l’église éternelle
Berlioz Grande symphonie funèbre et triomphale
Sir Simon Rattle conductor
Simon Johnson organ
Musicians from the Guildhall School
Musicians from Music Academy of the West
London Symphony Orchestra
Tickets: £100 £65 £50 £35 £25
50% discount for under-18s
For details of special Gala dinner and reception tickets: