25 September 2021 – 6 May 2022 | Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall

The London Philharmonic Orchestra today announced its 2021/22 season at the Royal Festival Hall, featuring 34 concerts of brilliantly curated programmes performed by many of the world’s leading musicians – and all in front of live audiences.

The last 18 months have seen the LPO rise to the challenges posed by the pandemic by presenting a full season of performances at the Royal Festival Hall that were streamed to an international audience of hundreds of thousands of people, developing new audiences through innovative projects and award-winning free online content.

In addition to its new Principal Conductor, Edward Gardner, the LPO also welcomes Karina Canellakis who begins her first full season as Principal Guest Conductor, and welcomes back Vladimir Jurowski in his new role of Conductor Emeritus. This triumvirate of conductors lead a bold and ambitious season featuring Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Klaus Makela, Renée Fleming, Bryn Terfel and this season’s Artist-in-Residence Julia Fischer.

The season contains a broad range of repertoire including 11 premieres from composers such as Tan Dun, Danny Elfman, Jimmy López and Rebecca Saunders. The Orchestra continues its year-round programme of education and community projects and its popular FUNharmonics family concerts return. The LPO is delighted to be continuing to offer digital streams to select concerts throughout the season through its ongoing partnership with Intersection and Marquee TV. 

David Burke, Chief Executive of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, said:
The inaugural season of any Principal Conductor is a special moment in an Orchestra’s history. To start Ed’s with the Orchestra’s first audience-filled concert at the Royal Festival Hall in 18 months will make this a truly unique experience. 

The pandemic has seen us embrace change and grasp new opportunities. It is a testament to our incredible musicians and team that we have come out the other side with a bigger audience, an enhanced range of work and a renewed commitment to bringing excellence to audiences around the world. We have, however, missed the collective experience of live performance that we share with our audiences at the Southbank Centre and we all look forward to welcoming them to such an exciting season ahead.’

Edward Gardner, incoming Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, said:
‘I’m thrilled to be opening my first season with the LPO, by performing Midsummer Marriage, a neglected masterpiece brimming with Tippett’s unique spirituality and humanity. Coming out of this extraordinary period, with its dearth of live performance, we’ve all had time to reflect on the wonderful qualities of the LPO, and our role in the community of London. Great orchestral music inspires, comforts and transports people, and I’m thrilled to be bringing new voices and a huge range of artists to our audiences. The musicians and I have felt the lack of communion between stage and auditorium acutely. We can’t wait to share many magical and momentous concerts with you.’

Edward Gardner begins his first season as Principal Conductor with 11 concerts, including five UK premieres. He opens the season with a concert performance of Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage. The London Philharmonic Choir is joined by the English National Opera Chorus, a nod to Gardner’s tenure as Music Director of ENO (2006 – 2015), alongside an all-British cast featuring Robert MurraySophie BevanAshley RichesJennifer FranceToby SpenceSusan Bickley and Clive Bayley [25 September]. Other programmes include Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde.

Karina Canellakis conducts four Royal Festival Hall concerts as part of her first full season as Principal Guest Conductor. The four programmes span a broad range of repertoire including Sibelius, Shostakovich, Wagner, Scriabin, Lili Boulanger, John Adams and Victoria Borisova-Ollas, showcasing leading soloists including Inon Barnatan [27 November], Stephen Hough [1 December], Christian Tetzlaff [19 January] and Cédric Tiberghien [22 January].

Australian composer Brett Dean enters his second year as the LPO Composer-in-Residence, and the Orchestra’s new season features three of his works. Vladimir Jurowski conducts the world premiere of Dean’s revised Notturno inquieto (Rivisitato) [8 December], Lawrence Power performs Dean’s 2005 Viola Concerto [9 February] and Alban Gerhardt performs the UK premiere of Dean’s Cello Concerto [27 April].

Julia Fischer is this season’s Artist-in-Residence and will perform all five of Mozart’s violin concertos [2, 4 and 12 February], lead a chamber concert with soloists from the LPO [6 February], and perform Elgar’s Violin Concerto conducted by Vladimir Jurowski [13 April]. In addition to her five concerts, Fischer will also take part in masterclasses and education activities throughout the season.

The LPO continues its commitment to giving premieres and further performances of contemporary music, with 11 premieres across the season. Mark Elder conducts the long-awaited UK premiere of James MacMillan’s Christmas Oratorio, a work that was originally due to be performed in December 2020 as the culmination of the LPO’s year-long 2020 Vision series [4 December]. Klaus Mäkelä conducts the world premiere of Jimmy López’s Piano Concerto with pianist Javier Perianes [23 February] and Colin Currie performs the world premiere of Danny Elfman’s Percussion Concerto [25 March].

Tan Dun conducts the UK premiere of his Buddha Passion [19 February]; Edward Gardner conducts four UK premieres in one concert, featuring works by composers Missy MazzoliRebecca SaundersMason Bates and George Walker [30 March]; and Vladimir Jurowski conducts the UK premiere of Helmut Lachenmann’s Marche fatale [9 April].

The LPO is joined by some of today’s leading conductors including Marin Alsop, Tan Dun, Mark Elder, Hannu Lintu, Klaus Mäkelä, Enrique Mazzola, Kazushi Ono, Thomas Søndergård, Ludwig Wicki and David Zinman.

Conductor Emeritus Vladimir Jurowski conducts three concerts this season, including two premieres.

Leading soloists include pianists Stephen Hough, Jan Lisiecki and Mitsuko Uchida, cellists Nicolas AltstaedtKian Soltani and Sheku Kanneh-Mason, violinists Julia Fischer and Leonidas Kavakos,percussionist Colin Currie andsingers Renée Fleming, Bryn Terfel and Roderick Williams. Violinist Daniel Lozakovich makes his LPO debut with a performance of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 [26 February].

The LPO continues to run its programme of education and community projects, many of which successfully moved online during the pandemic, including its Foyle Future Firsts, LPO Young Composers and LPO Junior Artists programmes. The LPO team reach over 30,000 people of all ages and abilities each year through projects with schools, young people, adults and families across South London and beyond.

The Orchestra’s popular FUNharmonics family concerts return with an interactive live performance of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique with presenter Rachel Leach, in which children are encouraged to explore the music in a fun and relaxed environment [7 November]. The LPO’s BrightSparks schools’ concerts continue with performances planned for Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 and GCSE students.

A particularly special event in the Orchestra’s community programme is ‘Crisis Creates’, in which members of Crisis – adults who have experienced homelessness – perform music they have created with LPO musicians and a workshop leader as part of a week-long creative project [24 November]. OrchLab, the Orchestra’s programme for disabled participants, co-delivered with Drake Music, also continues this season and culminates in a Festival Day including workshops, relaxed performances and accessible instrument demonstrations [8 December].

Just weeks into the UK’s first lockdown in March 2020, the LPO launched ‘LPOnline’a series of online content that ranged from at-home performances by LPO musicians to online engagement initiatives. ‘LPOnline’allowed the Orchestra to sustain and build relationships with UK and international audiences, receiving over 3 million views worldwide. Its popular Lean In and Listen series saw the Orchestra collaborate with household names including Russell Brand, Fearne Cotton, Jameela Jamil and Dermot O’Leary on Instagram, introducing thousands of people to the LPO. By late June 2020 the Orchestra was able to bring together chamber groups of LPO musicians to film a series of four concerts that were broadcast online for free, and the summer saw the LPO perform small-scale outdoor performances at Glyndebourne and Snape Maltings.

In autumn 2020 the LPO ambitiously presented a season of concerts at the Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, streamed to a huge international audience through its partnership with Marquee TV. The Orchestra invested in a collaboration with Intersection (formerly Silent Studios) who brought a fresh and innovative filming style. All of the Orchestra’s concerts were available for free for one week on Marquee TV which allowed the season to be as accessible as possible, offering audiences all around the globe the chance to watch the world-class Orchestra from their home for free.

Tickets for the LPO 2021/22 live concert season will go on sale on Thursday 1 July via the LPO website.