Key highlights:

  • ‘Moments Remembered’ season theme explores the relationship between music and memory: from how music can be used to memorialise past events to how our own personal memories are prompted by music. As part of this, critic and scholar Jeremy Eichler will be the LPO’s first ever Writer-in-Residence, writing programme notes and essays and taking part in pre-concert talks. The season opens with Principal Conductor Edward Gardner conducting Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (Eroica), originally a tribute for Napoleon until the composer heard that the republican had proclaimed himself Emperor
  • Throughout the season Gardner is joined by Joyce DiDonato, Patricia KopatchinskajaVíkingur Ólafsson and Augustin Hadelich, amongst others, and he continues to lead large choral works including Rachmaninoff’s The Bells (Choral Symphony). The final two concerts both include extra elements: a programme of Ravel includes circus performers from Circa and the closing concert, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, will be semi-staged
  • Four premieres, including a UK premiere from Composer-in-Residence Tania León,world premieres from Freya Waley-Cohen and David Sawer, and a European premiere from Dinuk Wijeratne
  • Guest artists including Renée Fleming, Gidon Kremer and Jan Lisiecki
  • Highlighting our Rising Talent programmes with pre-concert showcases from Foyle Future Firsts and LPO Junior Artists and welcoming our second cohort of Fellow Conductors: Matthew Lynch and Juya Shin
  • Three FUNharmonics family concerts
  • The lowest price ticket is £14, and the LPO is trialling 6.30pm starts at three Royal Festival Hall concerts 
  • Major tours to Japan, the US, Europe and China
  • Details of the LPO’s performing and community activity in its Brighton, Eastbourne and Saffron Walden residencies will be announced on Thursday 23 May

Today the London Philharmonic Orchestra announces its 2024/25 London season, sharing the wonder of orchestral music at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, where it is a Resident Orchestra. Across the season, many programmes explore the relationship between music and memory as part of a ‘Moments Remembered’ series, starting with our opening concert in which Principal Conductor Edward Gardner conducts Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, originally a tribute to Napoleon which was later revoked by the composer. Gardner is also joined in this concert by mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato for Berlioz’s The Death of Cleopatra. The season closes with a semi-staged performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8. Principal Guest Conductor Karina Canellakis and Conductor Emeritus Vladimir Jurowski also give three concerts each.

In between, there is the usual plethora of guest artists and conductors, premieres and community work for which the LPO is known. The Orchestra gives four premieres including a UK premiere from Composer-in-Residence Tania León,world premieres from Freya Waley-Cohen and David Sawer, and a European premiere from Dinuk Wijeratne.

Edward Gardner, Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra says:‘We’re very proud of the shape and range our 24-25 season. We’ll explore the theme of music and memory throughout, and I’m thrilled to be conducting the iconic choral works that have been a signature of our work together, starting with Rachmaninoff’s The Bells (Choral Symphony) and ending the season with Mahler’s Symphony No. 8. As ever, the LPO is committed to bringing new musical voices and pieces to our audience, and we’ll be presenting pieces by Tania León, Freya Waley-Cohen, David Sawer and Dinuk Wijeratne. World-class soloists pack our season, and our commitment to emerging talent is as strong as ever. I’m intrigued to see how our second cohort of Fellow Conductors develop across the year, as well as working with our Foyle Future Firsts and students from my alma mater, the Royal Academy of Music in our annual showcase. I hope you’re as excited and intrigued by our new season as we are!

Elena Dubinets, Artistic Director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra says: ‘Welcome to our 2024/25 season – it’s great to be able to share it with you! The centrepiece is our ‘Moments Remembered’ series in which we will look at the relationship between music and memory. We’ve all experienced the rush of emotions when music with personal connotations begins to play; we will explore that as well as hear memorials, tributes and powerful public statements, all captured in music. I’m delighted that Jeremy Eichler, author of Time’s Echo, will be with us throughout to help us explore these themes. Memory problems are one of the most devastating things a human being can experience and so, off the platform, we will be working with organisations that support people with dementia, memory loss and brain injury. I look forward to welcoming you to our concerts.’

Moments Remembered

This season’s theme, ‘Moments Remembered’, will explore the relationship between music and memory. It will explore how music can be used as a memorial, tribute, personal reflection or public statement, including how certain events and people from the past are now remembered. Throughout ‘Moments Remembered’, critic and scholar Jeremy Eichlerwill join the Orchestra as its first ever Writer-in-Residence, drawing upon his recent book Time’s Echo, which discusses similar themes. Time’s Echo is a new genre-blurring book on music, war and memory that has been named History Book of the Year by The Sunday Times and hailed as ‘the outstanding music book of this and several years’ by The Times Literary Supplement.

Eichler will enhance our explorations into these themes by writing programme notes and essays, and taking part in pre-concert talks. Off the platform, the Orchestra will be working with organisations that support people with dementia, memory loss and brain injury. 

Gardner opens the new season with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (Eroica), originally intended as a tribute for Napoleon until the composer heard that the republican had proclaimed himself Emperor. Also on the programme, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato sings Berlioz’s The Death of Cleopatra which is preceded by Barber’s Medea’s Dance of Vengeance (25 September). A few days later, Patricia Kopatchinskaja performs Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1, a piece he wrote whilst he and many others were being censured. Gardner begins the evening with Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem, originally commissioned by the Japanese government to mark the 2,600th anniversary of the Mikado dynasty. Rejected because of its Christian influences, it was also Britten’s memorial to his parents and an expression of his pacifism in the wake of the developing Second World War (4 October).

Andrey Boreyko conducts three testaments from a dark century in one evening. First on the programme is Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw:a tribute to victims of the Holocaust, narrated by Taras Shtonda. Much of Mieczysław Weinberg’s music was influenced by war and the persecution of the Jewish people, and violinist Gidon Kremer performs his powerful Violin Concerto, after which the Orchestra performs Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, a work that challenged officially-sanctioned memory of the Jewish tragedy in the Soviet Union (27 November).

Gardner returns to conduct a programme featuring Richard Strauss’sMetamorphosen which reflects on wartime Germany, and Berg’s Violin Concerto, performed by Isabelle Faust, written after the composer was haunted by the death of a young girl (15 January). This concert is preceded by a performance from the LPO’s Foyle Future Firsts and students from the Royal Academy of Music as part of the ‘Moments Remembered’ series; it features Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, each movement of which was dedicated to the memory of a friend of the composer who died in the First World War. The Foyle Future Firsts development programme bridges the transition between education and the classical music professional for 16 early-career orchestral musicians each year (15 January, 6pm).

Conductor Emeritus Vladimir Jurowski leads John Adams’s On The Transmigration of Souls, a tribute to the victims of 9/11 (18 January). Evan Williams’s Dead White Man Music (Concerto for Harpsichord and Chamber Ensemble) asks questions about the prevalence of music by long-deceased white male European composers (22 January). Reena Esmail’s RE|Member is a piece that reflects on what the world went through during the COVID-19 pandemic (25 January). Dinuk Wijeratne tells his own personal story of displacement and hope in the European premiere of his Clarinet Concerto, performed by Kinan Azmeh, for whom it was written (12 March).

Jurowski returns with a programme related to memory loss: both Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert suffered from it. The Orchestra perform Schumann’s Violin Concerto with Vilde Frang, and Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 (The Great) (5 April). Prokofiev experienced the pain of losing a friend, Maximillian Schmidthof, to suicide, and subsequently dedicated his Piano Concerto No. 2 to him. It’ll be performed by Jan Lisiecki (12 April).

The penultimate concert of the season has been especially developed with the Southbank Centre and Circa, Australia’s internationally renowned circus company, and will feature cross-artform performances of both items on the programme: Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloé and La valse, the latter thought by some commentators to be a reflection on the First World War (23 April).

Principal Conductor Edward Gardner

Edward Gardner returns for his fourth season as Principal Conductor and will conduct nine concerts. As well as his ‘Moments Remembered’ programmes, he’ll continue to lead works with choral forces, as has become a feature of his LPO programmes. Kristina MkhitaryanDmytro Popov and Kostas Smoriginas will join the London Philharmonic Choir for Rachmaninoff’s The Bells (Choral Symphony). The concert begins with the same composer’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with soloist Leif Ove Andsnes (28 September).

Gardner is joined by Víkingur Ólafsson who performs Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1. The programme is completed by the world premiere of Freya Waley-Cohen’s Mother Tongue and Bartók’s The Miraculous Mandarin Suite (6 November).

Alexandra Dovgan is the soloist in Grieg’s Piano Concerto, which is paired with Richard Strauss’s An Alpine Symphony and the UK premiere of a new work by Composer-in-Residence Tania León (21 February). This concert is preceded by the annual LPO Junior Artists Showcase, highlighting the Orchestra’s scheme that supports the progression of talented teenage musicians from backgrounds currently under-represented in professional UK orchestras. The Junior Artists spend a season with the Orchestra, becoming fully immersed in the organisation; they are each mentored by a member of the LPO and take part in a variety of performances, behind-the scenes activities and skills workshops (21 February, 6pm).

Violinist Augustin Hadelich performs Britten’s Violin Concerto prior to Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. This concert also includes the world premiere of David Sawer’s Sphinx (26 February). The season closes with a semi-staged performance of Mahler’s mighty Symphony No. 8 with Sarah WegenerEmma BellJennifer FranceChristine RiceJennifer JohnstonAndreas SchagerTomasz KoniecznyDerek WeltonLondon Philharmonic ChoirLondon Symphony Chorus and Tiffin Boys’ Choir (26 April).

Principal Guest Conductor Karina Canellakis

Principal Guest Conductor Karina Canellakis leads Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 in his 200th anniversary year. Also on the programme is Robert Schumann’s Overture to Manfred and his Cello Concerto, performed by Truls Mørk (30 October, 6.30pm). Later that week, Canellakis is joined by Vadym Kholodenko for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3. The concert is bookended by Saariaho’s Lumière et Pesanteur and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 (Pathétique) (2 November). Canellakis opens her third concert with Sibelius’s En Saga before Benjamin Grosvenor performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21. The programme is completed with Sibelius’s Lemminkäinen Suite (29 January).

Conductor Emeritus Vladimir Jurowski

Vladimir Jurowski returns for three concerts: also on his John Adams programme is Haydn’s Missa in tempore belli and György Kurtág’s Petite musique solennelle, dedicated to the memory of Pierre Boulez and programmed to commemorate his centenary (18 January). Bass Matthew Rose joins the Orchestra for Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death. The concert opens with selections fromProkofiev’s Semyon Kotko and Ukrainian composer Boris Lyatoshynsky’s Symphony No. 3 (2 April). This concert is preceded by the LPO’s annual ‘Crisis Creates’ performance as part of ‘Moments Remembered.’ Members of Crisis UK – all adults who have experienced homelessness – perform original music they have devised with LPO musicians and a workshop leader during a week-long creative project. Crisis Creates aims to improve participants’ wellbeing and confidence through self-expression, collaboration and developing creative skills (2 April, 6pm).

Jurowski’s third programme comprises Brahms’s Tragic Overture, Robert Schumann’s Violin Concerto with Vilde Frang, and Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 (The Great) (5 April).

Premieres

The London Philharmonic Orchestra presents two world premieres, one UK premiere and one European premiere in the 2024/25 season. Freya Waley-Cohen’s Mother Tongue looks at how language is formed, particularly how a country’s political and cultural history becomes ingrained and embedded in the very language its people speak on an everyday basis, whether they are aware or not (6 November). The LPO also gives the UK premiere of a new work by Composer-in-Residence Tania León (21 February).

David Sawer’s Sphinx creates the illusion of one piece being hidden inside another. Throughout the work, one layer of music is brought into the foreground before being absorbed again by the rest of the orchestra, creating a sense of three-dimensionality. The juxtaposing contrasting colours, registers and dynamics, in ever-changing perspectives, evoke the titular mythological creature (26 February).

Dinuk Wijeratne’sClarinet Concerto is part-autobiographical immigrant story, part-response to the Syrian conflict, and part-exploration of the notion of ‘home.’ The LPO welcomes back Wijeratne’s friend and the Concerto’s dedicatee, Kinan Azmeh, to perform the work (12 March). 

Other highlights

The rest of the season includes the customary roster of highly-acclaimed conductors and world-class soloists. Mark Elder conducts a programme of Ravel’s Mother Goose, Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with James Ehnes and Richard Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben (25 October). The LPO is joined by Andrew Davis in a concert featuring Zlatomir Fung performing Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme. Davis opens the evening with Weber’s overture from Oberon and continues the Tchaikovsky theme with selections from Swan Lake (29 November). The Orchestra’s Co-Leader Alice Ivy-Pemberton is the soloist in Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons in a concert that also includes Julia Perry’s Requiem for Orchestra, an homage to Vivaldi (22 January).

Sarod player Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash join together for an evening celebrating Indian classical music. Opening with Reena Esmail’s RE|Member, the programme continues with Ali Khan performing his own work Samaagam (Concerto for Sarod), in which Indian and Western classical music come together, and concludes with selections from film soundtracks by AR Rahman such as Slumdog Millionaire and Bombay. Amjad, Amaan and Ayaan are joined by their regular collaborator, conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya (25 January).

Boris Giltburg is the soloist in Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with conductor Juraj Valčuha. The programme is bookended by Glazunov’s Concert Waltz No. 1 and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances (19 February). Mahler/Schnittke’s Piano Quartet arranged for piano and strings opens this concert with Omer Meir Wellber leading the orchestra from the piano. He then conducts Haydn’s Symphony No. 49 (La Passione) and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, in which he is joined by Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider as soloist (1 March).

Soprano Renée Fleming returns to perform Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs with the Orchestra, with Thomas Guggeis conducting; music by Wagner fittingly completes the programme including selections from Tristan und IsoldeTannhäuser, Lohengrin and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (5 March). Kevin John Edusei conducts three of Frank Zappa’s works: The Dog Breath Variations/Uncle Meat, Outrage at Valdez and G-Spot Tornado. After the European premiere of Dinuk Wijeratne’s Clarinet Concerto, Edusei leads the Orchestra in Martinů’s Symphony No. 6 (Fantaisies symphoniques) (12 March).

Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto performed by Francesco Piemontesi is the focus of the first half of a concert under the baton of Robin Ticciati, who then conducts Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 (19 March). Violinist Alina Ibragimova performs Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 conducted by Hannu Lintu. Saariaho’s Orion opens the evening and Nielsen’s Symphony No. 5completes the programme (26 March). Following the success of the UK premiere of Tan Dun’s Buddha Passion by the LPO, the Orchestra performs his Water Concerto,with percussionist Colin Currie showcasing how water can be used as an instrument. Eva Ollikainen bookends the concert with Arvo Pärt’s Symphony No. 1 (Polyphonic) and Lutosławski’s Symphony No. 3 (29 March).

FUNharmonics Family Concerts

The LPO’s FUNharmonics family concerts are the perfect way to introduce the exciting sounds of the Orchestra to the youngest music-lovers. During these hour-long concerts, a presenter weaves in audience interaction throughout and images are projected on the big screen above the Orchestra, creating an engaging, multi-sensory experience for the whole family. There is also an array of free activities in the foyer spaces before the concert, including lively interactive music sessions for all the family, and the chance to ‘Have a Go’ at orchestral instruments under expert instruction.

This season’s concerts are Stan and Mabel, based on the book by Jason Chapman with music by Paul Rissmann, presented by Polly Ives (26 October, age 5 and above); Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s book The Snail and the Whale, presented by Lucy Hollins and with the Magic Light Pictures film on the big screen (23 March, age 5 and above); and Stravinsky’s Petrushka, presented by Rachel Leach (31 May, age 6 and above).

OrchLab Festival Day

OrchLab exists to empower disabled adults to experience the joy of making music through workshops, accessible technology, a bespoke website, training and events. It is run by the LPO in partnership with Drake Music, experts in music, technology and disability. Each year, the work culminates in the OrchLab Festival Day which offers a fun opportunity for live music, accessible instrument demonstrations, interactive workshops and showcasing the creativity of OrchLab participants (27 November).

Evening chamber concerts

The LPO continues its partnership with St John’s Church Waterloo, close to the Orchestra’s Southbank Centre home; it is an opportunity for our musicians to showcase their versatility and creativity in a different, more intimate environment. The full programme will be announced in due course. Previous concerts have included everything from Gavin Bryars’s Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet to an evening of jazz and soul, and, most recently, a concert of contemporary music in which the audience became the performers.

Tickets and trialling 6.30pm starts

The London Philharmonic Orchestra wants to share the wonder of orchestral music with as many people as possible. Full-price tickets for all its Southbank Centre concerts start at just £14, and this season the LPO is trialling earlier start times for three Wednesday concerts at the Royal Festival Hall. The concerts are: Karina Canellakis & Truls Mørk (30 October); Karina Canellakis & Benjamin Grosvenor (29 January); and Hannu Lintu & Alina Ibragimova (26 March).

Marquee TV

The LPO continues its digital residency with streaming service Marquee TV. Each concert is free to watch for the first 48 hours before joining the Orchestra’s collection of concerts available to subscribers. Details of which concerts from the coming season will be filmed for later broadcast on Marquee TV will be available in the coming weeks.

Residences

The Orchestra is also resident at Brighton Dome, Eastbourne’s Congress Theatre and Saffron Hall; those seasons will be announced on Thursday 23 May. On the South Coast, the LPO is expanding its work in the community through collaborating with the local music education hubs, running sectional rehearsals with local amateur orchestras and taking part in community events. More information will be announced on Thursday 23 May.

Booking for LPO Friends opens on Wednesday 17 April and general sale opens on Tuesday 23 April https://lpo.org.uk/whats-on/