London Symphony Orchestra

London Symphony Orchestra

Infobox musical artist
Name = London Symphony Orchestra

Img_size = 90
Background = classical_ensemble
Alias = LSO
Origin = flagicon|UK London, England, United Kingdom
Genre = Classical
Occupation = Symphony orchestra
Years_active = 9 June 1904-"present"
Associated_acts = London Symphony Chorus
URL = []
Current_members = Principal Conductor
Valery Gergiev
Sir Colin Davis
Principal Guest Conductor
Daniel Harding
Michael Tilson Thomas
Conductor Laureate
Andre Previn
Past_members =
Notable_instruments =
The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) is one of the major orchestras of the United Kingdom. Since 1982, the LSO has been based in London's Barbican Centre.


The LSO was founded in 1904 as an independent, self governing organisation, the first such orchestra in the UK. It played its first concert on 9 June of that year, with Hans Richter conducting. He remained principal conductor until 1911, when Edward Elgar took over for a year, leading six concerts as principal conductor.

More recently, its principal conductors have included Pierre Monteux (1961–64), Istvan Kertesz (1965–68), André Previn (1968–79) and Claudio Abbado (1979–88). From 1988-1995, the American Michael Tilson Thomas took over, and in 1995, became principal guest conductor. Sir Colin Davis served as the LSO's Principal Conductor from 1995-2006, and in 2007 took the post of President of the orchestra. On 1 January 2007, Valery Gergiev became the LSO's Principal Conductor. Previn holds the title of Conductor Laureate. In 2006, Daniel Harding became the co-principal guest conductor alongside Tilson Thomas.

The LSO became the first British orchestra to play overseas when it went to Paris in 1906. The LSO was due to sail on the RMS "Titanic" for a concert in New York in April 1912 but fortunately had to change the booking at the last minute. It was also the first to play in the United States, in 1912, and in 1973 it was the first to be invited to take part in the Salzburg Festival. It continues to make tours around the world.

In 1956, the orchestra appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's film "The Man Who Knew Too Much", conducted by composer Bernard Herrmann in the climactic scene, filmed in Royal Albert Hall.

In 1966, the London Symphony Chorus (LSC) was formed to complement the work of the LSO. with more than two hundred amateur singers, the LSC maintains a close association with the LSO; however it has developed an independent life, which allows it to partner other leading orchestras.

The LSO has long been considered the most extroverted of the London orchestras. For most of its life it refused to allow women to become members, ostensibly on the grounds that women would affect the sound of the orchestra (there has been a similar controversy at the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra). One of the first women to join the orchestra was the oboist Evelyn Rothwell. There is an air of youthful high spirits to much of its music-making that is shown off in performances of such composers as Berlioz and Prokofiev. The LSO has often had internationally-known players as wind soloists, including such artists as James Galway (flute), Gervase de Peyer (clarinet), Roger Lord (oboe), Osian Ellis (harp), John Georgiadis (violin) and Barry Tuckwell (horn). Like most ensembles, the orchestra has a great ability to vary its sound, producing very different tone colours under such diverse conductors as Stokowski (with whom it made a series of memorable recordings), Adrian Boult, Jascha Horenstein, Georg Solti, André Previn, George Szell, Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, John Barbirolli, and Karl Böhm, who developed a close relationship with the orchestra late in his life. Böhm and Bernstein each held the title of LSO President in their later years.

Clive Gillinson, a former cellist with the orchestra, served as the LSO's Managing Director from 1984 to 2005, and is widely credited with bringing great stability to the LSO's organisation after severe fiscal troubles. [cite news | url= | title=Triumphs, tears and toccatas | publisher=Telegraph | author= Michael Kennedy | date=19 January 2004| accessdate=2007-04-30] Since 2005, Kathryn McDowell is the Managing Director of the LSO. [cite news | title=Taming the music makers | url= | publisher=The Times| author=Penny Wark | date=27 July 2005| accessdate=2007-04-30]


The LSO has made recordings since the early days of recording, including some acoustical performances with Arthur Nikisch. It recorded extensively for HMV and EMI for many years. In the early 1960s, the veteran French conductor Pierre Monteux made a series of stereophonic recordings with the orchestra for Philips Records, many of which been reissued on CD.

The LSO is also famous for recording many motion picture film scores down the years. These include, under the baton of such noted composers as John Williams, Alan Silvestri, and James Horner, all the "Star Wars" films (with Maurice Murphy playing the main trumpet theme in all of them), "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", "The Queen", "Raiders of the Lost Ark","The Land Before Time", "Braveheart", "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets", "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire", "Eragon" and "Superman", as well as the innovative ' at the American theme park, Epcot. It has also performed on many pop recordings, including The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", Grace Slick's Manhole, and songs from the "Thriller" and "Bad" albums by Michael Jackson. On television, the LSO was featured on "André Previn's Music Night". More recently, the orchestra was used in the video game ', providing much of the background music in the game.

Since 2000, the LSO has been issuing commercial CD recordings on its own label, "LSO Live", which was established under Gillinson's watch.

The LSO also made a very popular rendition of Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, which was one of the most popular pieces on Apple's iTunes.

Principal Conductors


External links

*London Symphony Orchestra [ official website]
*London Symphony Orchestra [ members]
*London Symphony Orchestra [ Discography]
*allmusic|41:37333|London Symphony Orchestra
*imdb company|0128321|London Symphony Orchestra

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