Munich / London.

Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra with cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason perform live in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 11 June 2022 at 5.00pm.

Photo credit: Decca Classics

This free summer concert highlights the continued partnership between BMW and the London Symphony Orchestra, which for the last eleven years has brought superlative live music to audiences in one of the world’s most iconic public spaces, Trafalgar Square, and to thousands more watching the live stream on YouTube.

The 2022 BMW Classics concert programme opens with George Gershwin’s evocative sunny Cuban Overture, For the central section of the concert, in contrasting mood, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason marks his debut live performance with the Orchestra, playing two sublime masterpieces for cello and orchestra, Bruch’s Kol Nidrei and Bloch’s Prayer from Jewish Life. This is followed by the world premiere of FAIYA! a specially commissioned work by Ayanna Witter-Johnson. This dance inspired piece written for a mixed-ability orchestra brings together LSO musicians with 55 young musicians from east London as part of the LSO On Track partnership, and 18 students from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. For the final work the upbeat tempo returns with a second Gershwin classic, An American in Paris.

Commenting today, Sir Simon Rattle said, “We’re back in the earlier summer slot of mid-June for 2022 so it seems only fit and proper to play some sunshine infused music this year, so Gershwin’s joyous music opens and closes the concert. I am delighted that young musicians from the LSO On Track partnership are joining us on stage to play the wonderful Ayanna Witter-Johnson’s new piece FAIYA! And of course, for the LSO to be reunited with the talent that is Sheku Kanneh-Mason. We had a great time together recording Elgar’s Cello concerto in 2019 so it’s terrific to be re-united to play to a live audience this time. On behalf of the LSO and our audiences in Trafalgar Square and online a big thank you to BMW and the Mayor for London for making this possible.”

Dr. Nicolas Peter, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG: “I am very delighted that our successful partnership with the London Symphony Orchestra continues. BMW’s commitment to great music is an integral part of our worldwide cultural engagement that has been going on for over 50 years. I am very much looking forward to experiencing the open-air concert again and seeing Sir Simon Rattle, Sheku Kanneh-Mason as well as the whole LSO and young musicians on stage.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan: “I’m excited to hear that Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra will be joined by young musicians from London to perform Ayanna Witter-Johnson’s new work in the spectacular surroundings of Trafalgar Square. This free outdoor concert will be a great way to enjoy this wonderful music and bring it to an even wider audience. I encourage Londoners and visitors to come along and enjoy this evening of world class music.”

Composer, Ayanna Witter-Johnson: “Last year we had the best time working and playing my piece DreamCity for this event so it’s super exciting to be bringing FAIYA! to life. The piece is inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Red Shoes’, to which I bring in rhythms from my Jamaican heritage via traditional Nyabinghi rhythms as well as more modern Dancehall rhythmical influences. Originally commissioned for 2020, and postponed because of the pandemic it finally comes to fruition in June with so many great young musicians making it happen.”