- London Philharmonic Orchestra
Infobox musical artist
Name = London Philharmonic Orchestra
Background = classical_ensemble
Alias = LPO; London Session Orchestra
Origin = flagicon|UK
Genre = Classical
Years_active = 1932-"present"
Associated_acts = LPO Choir
URL = [http://www.lpo.co.uk/ www.lpo.co.uk]
Current_members = Principal Conductor
Principal Guest Conductor
Composer in Residence
Past_members = Founder
Sir Thomas Beecham
Notable_instruments = The London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO), based in
London, is one of the major orchestras of the United Kingdom, and is based in the Royal Festival Hall. In addition, the LPO is the main resident orchestra of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera.
The orchestra was formed in 1932 by Sir Thomas Beecham, and played its first concert on
October 7 1932at the Queen's Hall, London. Its founding associate conductor was Malcolm Sargent[Aldous, p 69] . During the early years, the orchestra was led by Paul Beard and David McCallum, and included leading players such as Anthony Pini, Reginald Kell, Léon Goossens, Gwydion Brooke, Geoffrey Gilbert, Bernard Walton and James Bradshaw. [Notes to EMI/WRC set SHB 201-204]
At one of the orchestra's early concerts in November 1932 the sixteen-year old
Yehudi Menuhinplayed a programme of violin concertos; those by Bach and Mozartwere conducted by Beecham, and Elgar's concerto was conducted by the composer.
In the 1930s the LPO was the orchestra for the international opera seasons at the
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, of which Beecham was artistic director.
Beecham conducted the orchestra in a series of 78-rpm recordings for
Columbia Records, including a critically-acclaimed 1939 recording of Brahms' second symphony, which was later reissued on LP and CD.
War and post-war years
1939the orchestra's sponsors withdrew their financial support and the orchestra became self-governing, with members of the orchestra themselves taking decisions on the organisation's affairs. During the Second World Warit was particularly active in touring the country and bringing orchestral music to places where it was not usually available. Many of the players' instruments were lost in an air-raid in the Queen's Hall in May 1941, and an appeal was broadcast by the BBC, the response to which was enormous, with instruments donated by the public enabling the orchestra to continue. After the war, Beecham returned to the LPO for eighteen months, but left to found a new orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic. Guest conductors in this period included Victor de Sabata, Bruno Walter, Sergiu Celibidacheand Wilhelm Furtwängler. In 1949/50 the LPO gave 248 concerts, compared with 103 by the London Symphony Orchestraand 32 each by the Philharmoniaand RPO. [Hill, Ralph (ed) (1951). Music 1951. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books. OCLC 26147349]
After a period with no principal conductor, the orchestra engaged the Dutch conductor
Eduard van Beinumin 1947. Foreign nationals, at that time, were allowed to work in Britain for only six months of the year. In van Beinum’s absences, a roster of conductors guest-conducted the LPO, including Jean Martinon. Van Beinum’s health obliged him to resign in 1950. The LPO's managing director, Thomas Russell, then invited Sir Adrian Boult to take up the principal conductorship, after Boult had retired from his chief conductorship with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
The orchestra underwent a crisis between 1949 and 1952 because Russell, who had been the leading force in keeping the orchestra going during the war years, came under pressure in the
Cold Waryears because of his communistbeliefs. The London County Councilwithdrew its understanding that the LPO would be the resident orchestra at the new Royal Festival Hall, and eventually the orchestra voted to dismiss Russell.
Boult headed the LPO’s tour of
Russiain 1956. [Pepper, Maurice, "The London Philharmonic Orchestra in Russia" (February 1957). "The Musical Times", 98 (1368): pp. 67-69.] . He subsequently stood down as principal conductor, but remained closely associated with the orchestra, and was made its President in 1965. Most of his stereophonic recordings for EMI were made with the LPO.
Through the late 1950s the LPO worked with conductors including
Constantin Silvestriand Josef Krips. This was a bad period financially for the orchestra, and it was forced to abandon fixed contracts for its players with holiday and sick pay and pensions, and revert to payment by engagement.
In 1958 the LPO appointed
William Steinbergas chief conductor. He was a noted orchestral trainer, and did much to restore playing standards to their former levels.
The 1960s and 70s
In 1962 the orchestra undertook its first tour of
India, Australiaand the Far East. The conductors were Sir Malcolm Sargent and John Pritchard. Pritchard was appointed the LPO’s chief conductor in 1962. He was also music director of the Glyndebourne Festival, and in 1964 the LPO replaced the RPO as Glyndebourne’s resident orchestra.
In 1967 the LPO appointed
Bernard Haitinkas its principal conductor. He remained with the orchestra for twelve years, bringing a continuity that had been lacking since Beecham’s departure in 1939.
During this period the orchestra gave fund raising concerts in which guests from outside the world of classical music appeared, including
Danny Kayeand Duke Ellington. Others to appear with the LPO included Tony Bennett, Victor Borge, Jack Bennyand John Dankworth.
In the 1970s the orchestra toured the
USA, China, Western Europe. Russia and the USA for a second time. Guest conductors included Erich Leinsdorf, Carlo Maria Giuliniand Sir Georg Solti, who became the LPO’s chief conductor in 1979.
The 1980s and 90s
In 1982 the orchestra celebrated its
golden jubilee. A contemporaneous book listed the many famous musicians who had worked with the LPO in its fifty years. In addition to those mentioned above, others were conductors Daniel Barenboim, Leonard Bernstein, Eugen Jochum, Erich Kleiber, Serge Koussevitzky, Pierre Monteux, André Previnand Leopold Stokowski, and soloists Janet Baker, Dennis Brain, Alfred Brendel, Pablo Casals, Clifford Curzon, Victoria de los Angeles, Jacqueline du Pré, Kirsten Flagstad, Beniamino Gigli, Emil Gilels, Jascha Heifetz, Wilhelm Kempff, Fritz Kreisler, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, David Oistrakh, Luciano Pavarotti, Maurizio Pollini, Leontyne Price, Arthur Rubinstein, Elisabeth Schumann, Rudolf Serkin, Joan Sutherland, Richard Tauberand Eva Turner.
Klaus Tennstedt was principal conductor of the LPO from 1983 to 1987. After Tennstedt stood down from the principal conductorship because of ill-health, the orchestra was without a principal conductor for 3 years, until the accession of
Franz Welser-Möstin 1990. Welser-Möst's tenure was controversial, during which time he received the nickname "Frankly Worse Than Most" and many harshly critical reviews. [cite news | url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2005/08/18/bmfranz18.xml | title= Why all those insults made me stronger | work=Telegraph | author=Ivan Hewitt | date=2005-08-18 | accessdate=2008-10-05] Welser-Möst did bring with him a recording contract with EMI Classics to his relationship with the LPO. However, management turnover, financial stresses, and political disputes at the Southbank Centreat the time contributed to the difficulty of the working atmosphere in the orchestra. [cite news | url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CEED9163EF936A25750C0A964958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all | title=A Young Conductor Starts at the Top | work=New York Times | author=Nicholas Kenyon | date=1992-03-15 | accessdate=2008-10-05] [cite news | url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9804EEDB103EF930A25752C1A962958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all | title=Battered but Unbowed, a Maestro Rebounds | work=New York Times | author=James R. Oestreich | date=1994-11-13 | accessdate=2008-10-05] Welser-Möst concluded his LPO tenure in 1996.
After the departure of Welser-Möst, the LPO was without a principal conductor for 4 years, until the appointment of
Kurt Masur, who served in the post from 2000 to 2007. In December 2001, Vladimir Jurowskifirst conducted the LPO as a substitute guest conductor, to critical acclaim. [cite news | url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2001/12/17/bmmr15.xml | title=Last-minute stand-in makes an electrifying debut | publisher="Telegraph" | author=Matthew Rye | date=17 December 2001 | accessdate=2007-09-02] . He subsequently became their Principal Guest Conductor in 2003. He conducted the LPO in June 2007 during the concerts marking the re-opening of the refurbished Royal Festival Hall [cite news | url=http://music.guardian.co.uk/classical/livereviews/story/0,,2103890,00.html | title=LPO/Jurowski | publisher="The Guardian" | author=Tim Ashley | date=15 June 2007 | accessdate=2007-09-02] . In September 2007, Jurowski became the LPO's 11th principal conductor. In November 2007, the LPO named Yannick Nézet-Séguinas their new Principal Guest Conductor, effective with the 2008-2009 season. [cite news | url=http://www.playbillarts.com/news/article/7385.html | title=Nézet-Séguin Named London Phil Principal Guest Conductor | publisher="Playbill Arts" | author=Kevin Shihoten | date=20 November 2007 | accessdate=2007-11-21]
The current LPO chief executive and artistic director is Timothy Walker. [cite news | url=http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,,926112,00.html | title=Lord of the dings | publisher=The Guardian | author=Erica Jeal | date=31 March 2003 | accessdate=2007-04-20] The LPO has begun to issue CDs under its own label. [cite news | url=http://arts.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,1444784,00.html | title=London Philharmonic launches own label | publisher=The Guardian | author=Charlotte Higgins | date=24 Mar 2005 | accessdate=2007-04-20]
As well as giving its classical concerts, the LPO has made several
filmsoundtracks, including "Lawrence of Arabia", "Philadelphia", "The Mission" and " The Lord of the Rings film trilogy", as well as some CD albums of the music from the Square Enix video gameseries " Dragon Quest" composed by Koichi Sugiyama, "Symphonic Poem: Hope" for " Final Fantasy XII" and the soundtrack for " Xenosaga Episode I" composed by Yasunori Mitsuda. They can also be heard in the 1993 television production of Gershwin's " Porgy and Bess", conducted by Simon Rattle, as well as the 1989 EMI recording of the opera. The orchestra also occasionally plays on popular musicrecords like Nightwish's "Once" and " Dark Passion Play", for example. In the mid-1990s the LPO even released tribute albums to rock bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and The Whowith covers of the bands' songs, including a rendition of “Kashmir", and a version of " Baba O'Riley", which was featured in the movie "Slackers". The Orchestra also recorded most of the 4 CD set "Simply Rock Moods" covers of Rock songs in classical, yet contemporary style, for example: "Everybody Hurts" by REM, and Sailing by Rod Stewart. This orchestra has also featured on Porcupine Tree2007 album " Fear of a Blank Planet" and is working with no-man for their upcoming album " Schoolyard Ghosts". Recently, the LPO made a guest appearance on the animated television show Metalocalypse, in which they are all killed due to a laser show accident during a concert.
*cite book | last=Aldous | first=Richard | title=Tunes of glory: the life of Malcolm Sargent | location=London | publisher=Hutchinson | year=2001| isbn=0091801311
*cite book | last=Moore| first=Jerrold Northrop | title=Philharmonic: Jubilee 1932-1982| location=London | publisher=Hutchinson | year=1982| isbn=0091473004
* [http://www.lpo.co.uk/ London Philharmonic Orchestra official website]
* [http://www.lpc.org.uk/index.html London Philharmonic Choir]
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/friday_review/story/0,,368330,00.html Jessica Duchen, "Strings attached". "The Guardian", 15 September 2000.]
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