The London Philharmonic Orchestra has announced its 2019/20 season at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, confirming its reputation for bold, creative and distinctive programming that continues to inspire audiences on a journey of exploration and adventure. The London Philharmonic Orchestra has been performing at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall since it opened in 1951, becoming Resident Orchestra there in 1992.
2020 VISION: DEFINING THE SOUND OF OUR CENTURY – 8 February – 12 December 2020
2020 Vision sets out not only to define the sound of the first two decades of our century, but also to cast fresh light on the music of Beethoven in the 250th anniversary of his birth, as well as his contemporaries and the composers who came exactly one and two centuries after him. The LPO has chosen pieces that it believes represent the definitive sounds of the 21st century, each paired with the defining masterpieces of Beethoven and his contemporaries of the 19th century, in addition to leading works from the 20th. The year 2010 acts as a full stop in 2020 Vision with music exclusively from the year, including John Corigliano, Philip Glass and Shankar. A special concert for 2020 to end the series will be announced later this year.
Across the whole of 2020 Vision, works by John Adams, Thomas Adès, Julian Anderson, Ryan Wigglesworth, John Corigliano, Brett Dean, Philip Glass, Peter Eötvös, Anders Hillborg, Oliver Knussen, Thomas Larcher, Magnus Lindberg, James MacMillan, Krzysztof Penderecki, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Kaija Saariaho, Ravi Shankar and Jörg Widmann have been selected by year and combined with works written exactly 100 and 200 years earlier. The masterpieces from 1800–20 are dominated by Beethoven – but also include works by contemporaries such as Méhul, Schubert and Spohr, while the 1900–20 period is epitomised by major works by such composers as Bartók, Enescu, Nielsen, Scriabin, Sibelius, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Varèse and Vaughan Williams.
Beethoven, in the 250th anniversary of his birth, is celebrated throughout 2020 as part of 2020 Vision. The year-long celebration includes a complete symphony cycle – in chronological order – with conductors including Vladimir Jurowski, Vasily Petrenko,Dima Slobodeniouk, Omer Meir Wellber and Edward Gardner. Osmo Vänskä conducts Beethoven’s seminal fourth Piano Concerto with pianist Jeremy Denk [28 Feb], while Robin Ticciati leads a starry Triple Concerto with Anne-Sophie Mutter, Khatia Buniatishvilli and Pablo Ferrández [11 Mar]. Mutter returns to perform the First String Trio in an evening of chamber music with Principal players from the Orchestra [26 Mar], while Jurowski devotes a whole concert to Beethoven, including rare performances of his Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II and King Stephen Overture alongside Ah! Perfido, for which he is joined for the first time at Royal Festival Hall by soprano Lise Davidsen [4 April]. A FUNharmonics family day also gives children and families a chance to explore the great composer [16 Feb]. Details of the first ten concerts of 2020 Vision are available at lpo.org.uk. Details of the second ten, which fall in the 2020/21 season, will be announced later this year.
Timothy Walker, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, said:
‘The arts uniquely define and reflect their time, so recognition of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven is our starting point for celebrating new orchestral writing of the 21st century. To juxtapose these works with those composed one and two hundred years ago gives historical perspective on our time and allows us to reflect on what audiences in a hundred years hence may listen too. I’m sure that 2020 Vision will provide our audiences with the distinctive and thought-provoking programming for which the London Philharmonic Orchestra is celebrated.’
‘I’m delighted that we will be presenting so many of the world’s great artists in such a variety of concert programmes and education events. Everyone at the LPO looks forward to welcoming our audiences on our exploration and celebration of the wonder of orchestral music.’
LANDMARK CLASSICS OF BRITISH MUSIC – 30 January – 11 December 2019
Isle of Noises, the LPO’s year-long exploration of landmark works inspired by the British Isles, began in January 2019 and continues across the whole of the year. From the first great English opera, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, to Elgar’s much-loved Cello Concerto, the season celebrates major works by composers such as Bax, Britten, Butterworth, Handel, Holst, Vaughan Williams and Walton, and includes rarely-performed works such as Alywn’s beautiful harp concerto Lyra Angelica [6 Nov] and Foulds’s virtuosic piano concerto Dynamic Triptych [11 Dec].
Elgar features prominently within Isle of Noises. Eight of the concerts include works by the composer, including his Cello Concerto [5 Oct] – written exactly 100 years ago in October 1919 and here played by Sheku Kanneh-Mason making his LPO debut. Elgar’s oratorio The Apostles is conducted by Mark Elder with a stellar cast of soloists (Lucy Crowe, Alice Coote, Allan Clayton, Roderick Williams, Brindley Sherratt) [26 Oct], while Marin Alsop returns to conduct the Enigma Variations [9 Nov]. The Elgar Violin Concerto is performed by Nicola Benedetti [2 Oct]. The season includes two other great English violin concertos by Britten and Walton, both of which were given their world premieres by the London Philharmonic Orchestra in the 1940s. Within Isle of Noises, nearly 80 years later, the LPO is joined by Julia Fischerfor the Britten [27 Sep] and by James Ehnes for the Walton [9 Oct].
Other major highlights in the newly-announced second half of Isle of Noises include Marin Alsop conducting Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast [9 Nov], Thomas Adès conducting the UK premiere of his own Piano Concerto alongside Holst’s The Planets [23 Oct], andAndrew Manze conducting Adès’s Violin Concerto alongside Purcell, Lawes and Vaughan Williams’s Job [7 Dec]. Lawrence Renes conducts one of the hidden treasures of Isle of Noises, Alwyn’s neglected harp concerto Lyra Angelica, for which he is joined byXavier de Maistre making his LPO debut [6 Nov]. The series concludes with a rare London performance of Foulds’s monumentalDynamic Triptych, for which Jurowski and a much-enlarged Orchestra are joined by soloist Peter Donohoe [11 Dec]. As part of Isle of Noises, the LPO also dedicates a whole concert to classic scores of British films such as Brief Encounter (1945),David Copperfield (1969), Murder on the Orient Express (1971), Things to Come (1936) and more [1 Nov].
GREAT CONDUCTORS AND GREAT PROGRAMMES
The celebrated partnership between Vladimir Jurowski and the LPO continues with 11 main Royal Festival Hall concerts. He continues his acclaimed Wagner Ring Cycle with Siegfried [1 Feb] and his celebrated Mahler symphony cycle with the Second, Fifth and Ninth [19 Oct, 13 Nov & 17 Apr]. In an evening of Beethoven rarities, Jurowski conducts the Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II and the jubilant King Stephen Overture alongside the Grosse Fugue and Ah! Perfido, for which he is joined by Lise Davidsen [4 Apr]. Another Jurowski highlight is an evening of Strauss songs with Diana Damrau [13 Nov].
Jurowski leads many of the 2020 Vision concerts, kicking off the series with Beethoven’s First Symphony from 1801, Scriabin’s Second from 1901 and Péter Eotvös Snatches of a Conversation from 2001 with trumpeter Marco Blaauw and narrator Omar Ebrahim [8 Feb]. He returns with Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony from 1808, which he pairs with Ives’s The Unanswered Question and Thomas Adès’s In Seven Days (with pianist Nicolas Hodges) from 1908 and 2008 respectively [1 Apr]. Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Nikolai Lugansky is the centrepiece of a programme which also features Ryan Wigglesworth’s 2009Augenlieder and a rediscovery from 1809: Méhul’s Symphony No. 1, said to have had a profound impact on Beethoven [8 Apr].
Jurowski is also central to many of the Isle of Noises concerts throughout 2019, beginning the second half of the series with theScriabin Settings by his friend, the late Oliver Knussen, alongside Britten’s Violin Concerto with Julia Fischer [27 Sep]. Jurowski is joined by Nicola Benedetti for the Elgar Violin Concerto [2 Oct] before concluding the year-long celebration with Foulds’s Dynamic Triptych, paired with Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 [11 Dec].Edward Gardner conducts four programmes in the new season. The first, part of Isle of Noises, features Walton’s Violin Concerto (with James Ehnes) alongside Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4 (The Inextinguishable) [9 Oct]. Another, part of 2020 Vision, includes Sibelius’s Symphony No. 3, Dutilleux’s Le temps l’horloge (with Sally Matthews) and Beethoven’s much-loved Symphony No. 5 [28 Mar]. Gardner also conducts two major choral works: Verdi’s Requiem [12 Oct] and Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass alongside Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra and Sibelius’s Pohjola’s Daughter [25 Apr].
Sibelius is prominent in programmes from Susanna Mälkki – who conducts the Sixth Symphony in a concert celebrating the centenary of Elgar’s Cello Concerto with Sheku Kanneh-Mason [5 Oct] – and Vasily Petrenko, who conducts his Sibelius’ Second Symphony alongside Knussen’s Violin Concerto (played by Leila Josefowicz) and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 [19 Feb]. Klaus Mäkelä, the newly-appointed Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic, makes an eagerly-anticipated LPO debut with Sibelius’s Violin Concerto, for which he is joined by Ray Chen, and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 [27 May].
Osmö Vänska makes a welcome return for two 2020 Vision concerts which put the spotlight on Rautavaara’s Book of Visions from 2004 and Penderecki’s Chaconne in memory of John Paul II from 2005, alongside music from exactly 100 and 200 years before by Spohr, Beethoven, Elgar, Webern and Enescu [26 & 28 Feb]. Antonio Pappano is joined by Igor Levit for Busoni’s rarely-performed and gigantic Piano Concerto, a concert which promises to be a major highlight of the season [1 May]. Among the other renowned conductors making welcome returns to the London Philharmonic Orchestra are Mark Elder with a star-studded performance of Elgar’s The Apostles [26 Oct); Thomas Adès with the UK premiere of his own Piano Concerto in a programme which also features Holst’s The Planets [23 Oct]; Marin Alsop with an Isle of Noises concert centring on Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast [9 Nov]; and Robin Ticciati, who is joined by Anne-Sophie Mutter, Khatia Buniastishvili and Pablo Ferrández for Beethoven’s Triple Concerto alongside Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 [11 Mar].
PREMIERES AND NEW MUSIC
Proud of its reputation for commissioning and promoting new music, the LPO presents three notable UK premieres this season.Thomas Adès conducts his own new Piano Concerto with soloist Kirill Gerstein [23 Oct], while Yan Pascal Tortelier conducts the European premiere of Nico Muhly’s new Organ Concerto, commissioned by Southbank Centre and played by its dedicatee James McVinnie [29 Apr]. Through 2020 Vision the Orchestra is also proud to present such a wide selection of major works written in the last 20 years that are not performed as often as they deserve.
OTHER MAJOR HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SEASON
Ravi Shankar’s centenary in 2020 is celebrated with two major events. There’s a second chance to experience a semi-staged performance of Sukanya, the only opera written by the legendary composer and performer. This performance unites many of the soloists, dancers and creative team who brought the work so vividly to life at its world premiere in 2017 [15 Jan]. Anoushka Shankarreturns to the Orchestra to reprise her solo sitar part in her father’s Symphony, given its world premiere by the LPO in 2010, in a concert conducted by Karen Kamensek which also includes Daniel Hope and Alban Gerhardt playing the balletic Double Concerto by Philip Glass [22 Apr]. The LPO concerts are part of a Southbank Centre series celebrating the centenary of the birth of Ravi Shankar. In a night of comedy and classical music, Igudesman & Joo join the Orchestra for an evening of creativity, madness and hilarity with two of their acclaimed shows, Clash of the Soloists and Big Nightmare Music [4 Mar]. The Orchestra launches LPO Showcase, a series of free concerts featuring the best young musical talent. The concert includes musicians and composers nurtured through the Orchestra’s education and community programmes including its Foyle Future First artists and LPO Junior Artists.
LPO’s much-loved series for families, FUNharmonics, brings to life two magical flying creatures this season: Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s dragon Zog, and the mysterious Russian Firebird that inspired Stravinsky. The Orchestra presents René Aubry’s lively score to a big-screen projection of Zog, the latest animated film of the witty storybook by Donaldson and Scheffler [27 Oct], and explores Stravinsky’s magical ballet score The Firebird with a new prequel to the traditional story by composer Paul Rissmann and librettist Hazel Gould [3 May]. There is also a major celebration for Beethoven, inspired by cellist Steven Isserlis’s children’s book ‘Why Beethoven Threw the Stew’ [16 Feb]. Before each FUNharmonics concert, there are free hands-on activities around the Royal Festival Hall linked to the concert theme, including opportunities for children aged six and over to ‘have a go’ at different orchestral instruments under expert instruction.
BEYOND THE ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL
The London Philharmonic Orchestra remains Resident Orchestra of Glyndebourne Festival Opera, where it has had its summer home for more than 50 years, this year performing Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust, Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, Massenet’sCendrillion and Dvořák’s Rusalka.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra also continues its important south coast residencies in Brighton and Eastbourne, where it gives 10 concerts each year. The London Philharmonic Orchestra remains one of the most in-demand international orchestras in the world, giving around 35 concerts each year overseas. It was the first Western orchestra to visit the Soviet Union (1956) and the first to tour China following the Cultural Revolution (1973). The London Philharmonic Orchestra remains one of the most in-demand international orchestras in the world, giving around 35 concerts each year overseas. It was the first Western orchestra to visit the Soviet Union (1956) and the first to tour China following the Cultural Revolution (1973).
In March 2019 it undertakes a major two-week tour of Southeast Asia with conductor Vladimir Jurowski and violinist Julia Fischer, with long-awaited returns to Taipei, Kaohsiung (Taiwan), Seoul, Yongin (South Korea), Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai (China). Just a few weeks later the LPO makes its biennial visit to New York’s Lincoln Center at the heart of an East Coast visit with Edward Gardner and soloists Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and James Ehnes. Later in April a chamber ensemble makes its first trip to Botswana as part of the LPO’s partnership with Belmond. A major tour of Spain, taking in Mallorca, Santander and San Sebastián is planned for late August. The LPO will record a selection of concerts to be released on its own label, as well as broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and streamed on its website. The LPO Label has released over 100 recordings since its launch in 2005. The full catalogue can be explored at lpo.org.uk/recordings.
THE LPO’S EDUCATION PROGRAMME
The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s education work is at the heart of the organisationand brings the life-affirming power of music to schools, young people, adults and families across South London and beyond. Reaching over 30,000 people a year, the programme engages with people of all ages and abilities and enables world-class musicians to become part of people’s daily lives.
In the 2019-20 season, the LPO’s Education & Community work will continue to support the Orchestra’s strong commitment to inclusive music-making. We will welcome our fourth cohort to the LPO Junior Artists scheme (an orchestral experience programme for talented teenage musicians from backgrounds under-represented in professional UK orchestras), with associated LPO Junior Artists: Overture activity to nurture the Junior Artists of the future. The Orchestra will also launch a new holiday ensemble for disabled young people in south London through its Open Sound project. The Education & Community programme will reach an even wider audience through its work in the digital sphere – including The Studio (an online resource for young composers and teachers linked to the LPO Soundworks creative cross-arts programme) – and its increasing regional work in the LPO’s residency areas and beyond. Closer to home, the LPO will bring music to life for schools audiences through its BrightSparks concert series, reaching 10,000 young people, will offer direct professional development for primary school teachers and LPO musicians through the innovative Creative Classrooms project, and will continue to nurture the next generation of orchestral musicians and composers through its long-standing Foyle Future Firsts and LPO Young Composers programmes.