The LSO has been the Resident Orchestra at the Barbican in the City of London since the Centre opened in 1982. Every year, it gives 70 concerts there and performs over 50 worldwide. The LSO also programmes concerts and workshops at LSO St Luke’s through its pioneering community and education programme, LSO Discovery, which was one of the first in the UK.  Much of LSO Discovery’s work is captured and disseminated digitally, enabling enthusiasts, pupils and teachers from around the world to benefit from its activities.

From delivering artistic excellence on stage, in recordings and on film, to its world-leading music education and community programme, the London Symphony Orchestra strives to bring great music to as many people as possible. Established in 1904, the LSO was one of the first self-governing orchestras, built on the values of partnership and artistic ownership. That entrepreneurial spirit continues today.

London Symphony Orchestra

From delivering artistic excellence on stage, in recordings and on film, to its world-leading music education and community programme, the London Symphony Orchestra strives to bring great music to as many people as possible. Established in 1904, the LSO was one of the first self-governing orchestras, built on the values of partnership and artistic ownership. That entrepreneurial spirit continues today.

The LSO has been the Resident Orchestra at the Barbican in the City of London since the Centre opened in 1982. Every year, it gives 70 concerts there and performs over 50 worldwide. The LSO also programmes concerts and workshops at LSO St Luke’s through its pioneering community and education programme, LSO Discovery, which was one of the first in the UK.  Much of LSO Discovery’s work is captured and disseminated digitally, enabling enthusiasts, pupils and teachers from around the world to benefit from its activities.

The Orchestra also champions new music, regularly commissioning some of the foremost British composers to write significant new works for full orchestra and mixed-ability ensembles.

The LSO has developed a close family of artists who continually demonstrate their commitment to this Orchestra, with Sir Simon Rattle as Music Director, Gianandrea Noseda and François-Xavier Roth as Principal Guest Conductors, Michael Tilson Thomas as Conductor Laureate and André Previn as Conductor Emeritus. It also enjoys long-standing relationships with some of the world’s greatest conductors and soloists who relish the boundless professional ambitions that the LSO offers.

The LSO has a history of innovation that helps to keep it relevant and contemporary. With the formation of its own recording label LSO Live in 1999, the Orchestra brought about a revolution in how live orchestral music was recorded. Since then, LSO Live has produced over 120 releases and continually embraces new digital technologies, having made pioneering moves into digital film, Blu-Ray Audio, downloads and streaming. The Orchestra has more recordings to its name than any other orchestra, and many millions have enjoyed the LSO through its work as a leading orchestra for film, which includes hundreds of classic scores from Star Wars to The King’s Speech and Indiana Jones.

The LSO is determined to ensure the future of great music throughout the world and in its London home.

The Orchestra is a leading partner in Culture Mile in the City of London alongside the Corporation, the Barbican Centre, the Museum of London and the Guildhall School. Its Barbican Residency is funded by The Corporation of London and the LSO is a National Portfolio Organisation of the Arts Council England. The Orchestra relies on all of its strategic partnerships at home and abroad, plus its generous funders, to enable it to continue delivering a dynamic range of work.

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Olivier Messiaen

Olivier Messiaen (December 10, 1908 – April 27, 1992) was a French composer, organist, and ornithologist. He entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 11, and numbered Paul Dukas, Maurice Emmanuel, Charles-Marie Widor and Marcel Dupré among his teachers. He was appointed organist at the church of La Trinité in Paris in 1931, a post he held until his death. On the fall of France in 1940 Messiaen was made a prisoner of war, and while incarcerated he composed his Quatuor pour la fin du temps(“Quartet for the end of time”) for the four available instruments, piano, violin, cello, and clarinet. The piece was first performed by Messiaen and fellow prisoners to an audience of inmates and prison guards. Messiaen was appointed professor of harmony soon after his release in 1941, and professor of composition in 1966 at the Paris Conservatoire, positions he held until his retirement in 1978. His many distinguished pupils included Pierre Boulez, Yvonne Loriod (who later became Messiaen’s second wife), Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis and George Benjamin.

Messiaen’s music is rhythmically complex (he was interested in rhythms from ancient Greek and from Hindu sources), and is harmonically and melodically based on modes of limited transposition, which were Messiaen’s own innovation.

Many of his compositions depict what he termed “the marvellous aspects of the faith”, drawing on his unshakeable Roman Catholicism. He travelled widely, and he wrote works inspired by such diverse influences as Japanese music, the landscape of BryceCanyon in Utah, and the life of St. Francis of Assisi.

Messiaen experienced a mild form of synaesthesia manifested as a perception of colours when he heard certain harmonies, particularly harmonies built from his modes, and he used combinations of these colours in his compositions. For a short period Messiaen experimented with the parametrization associated with “total serialism”, in which field he is often cited as an innovator. His style absorbed many exotic musical influences such as Indonesian gamelan (tuned percussion often features prominently in his orchestral works), and he also championed the ondes Martenot.

His innovative use of colour, his personal conception of the relationship between time and music, his use of birdsong, and his intent to express profound religious ideas, all combine to make it almost impossible to mistake a composition by Messiaen for the work of any other western composer.

Messiaen found birdsong fascinating; he believed birds to be the greatest musicians and considered himself as much an ornithologist as a composer. He notated birdsongs worldwide, and he incorporated birdsong transcriptions into a majority of his music. His innovative use of colour, his personal conception of the relationship between time and music, his use of birdsong, and his intent to express profound religious ideas, all combine to make it almost impossible to mistake a composition by Messiaen for the work of any other western composer.

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Sir Simon has longstanding relationships with the leading orchestras in London, Europe and the USA; initially working closely with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Boston Symphony Orchestra, and more recently with The Philadelphia Orchestra. He regularly conducts the Wiener Philharmoniker, with whom he has recorded the complete Beethoven symphonies and piano concertos with Alfred Brendel and is also a Principal Artist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Founding Patron of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

During the 2018-19 season Sir Simon will embark upon tours to Japan, South Korea and Europe with the London Symphony Orchestra. He will conduct the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time in Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and will return to the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin for Hippolyte et Aricie, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks for Die Walküre and the Berliner Philharmoniker for Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. In March 2019 he will conduct Peter Sellars’ revival of the St. John Passion with both the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

From 2013, Sir Simon took up residency at Baden-Baden Osterfestspiele performing Die Zauberflöte and a series of concerts with the Berliner Philharmoniker in his first season. Since then the partnership led to performances of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, Peter Sellars’s ritualization of Bach’s St. John Passion, Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde and most recently, Parsifal in 2018. For Salzburg Osterfestspiele, Rattle has conducted staged productions of Fidelio, Così fan tutte, Peter Grimes, Pelléas et Mélisande, Salome and Carmen, a concert performance of Idomeneo and many contrasting concert programmes. He has also conducted Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen with the Berliner Philharmoniker for Festival d'Aix-en-Provence and Salzburg Osterfestspiele and most recently at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Wiener Staatsoper. Other recent opera productions for Sir Simon include Pelléas et Mélisande and Dialogues des Carmélites for the Royal Opera House; L'Étoile, Aus einem Totenhaus, Káťa Kabanová and La damnation de Faust for the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, and Andrew Norman’s A Trip to the Moon at the Barbican Centre, London.

Music education is of supreme importance to Sir Simon, and his partnership with the Berliner Philiharmoniker broke new ground with the education programme Zukunft@Bphil, earning him the Comenius Prize, the Schiller Special Prize from the city of Mannheim, the Golden Camera and the Urania Medal. He and the Berliner Philharmoniker were also appointed International UNICEF Ambassadors in 2004 - the first time this honour has been conferred on an artistic ensemble. Sir Simon has also been awarded several prestigious personal honours which include a knighthood in 1994, becoming a member of the Order of Merit from Her Majesty the Queen in 2014 and most recently, being given the Freedom of the City of London in 2018.

Sir Simon has made over 70 recordings for EMI record label (now Warner Classics) and has received numerous prestigious international awards for his recordings on various labels. Releases on EMI include Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms (which received the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance) Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, Ravel’s L'enfant et les sortileges, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. From 2014 Sir Simon continued to build his recording portfolio with the Berliner Philharmoniker’s new in-house label, Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings, which led to recordings of the Beethoven, Schumann and Sibelius symphony cycles. Sir Simon’s most recent recordings include Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Turnage’s Remembering, and Ravel, Dutilleux and Delage on Blue-Ray & DVD with the London Symphony Orchestra’s record label, LSO Live.

From 1980 to 1998, Sir Simon was Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and was appointed Music Director in 1990. He moved to Berlin in 2002 and held the positions of Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker until he stepped down in 2018. Sir Simon became Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra in September 2017 and spent the 2017-18 season at the helm of both ensembles.

Sir Simon Rattle was born in Liverpool and studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London./span>

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