London Symphony Orchestra

The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) is one of the leading symphony orchestras in the UK. Since 1982, the main platform for LSO has been the London Barbican Center. LSO was founded in 1904 as an independent self-governing organization. It was the first orchestra of this kind in the UK. It played its first concert on June 9, 1904. Hans Richter (János Richter) conducted the orchestra. In 1906, LSO became the first British orchestra to perform abroad (in Paris).

In 1912, the LSO became the first British orchestra to go to America. Only at the last moment the change in the performance schedule saved the orchestra from sailing on the Titanic - the orchestra hit the road a couple of days earlier with the ship The Baltic.

In 1956, under the direction of American composer Bernard Herrmann, who advocated the independent artistic value of movie music, the orchestra appeared in the movie by Alfred Hitchcock “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” in climactic scene that was filmed in London's Royal Albert Hall.

In 1966, the associated with LSO, London Symphony Choir (LSC) was formed. It enumerated more than two hundred non-professional singers. LSC closely collaborated with LSO, despite the fact that it had already become independent and had the opportunity to work with other leading orchestras.

In 1973, LSO became the first British orchestra invited to the Salzburg Festival.

The orchestra continued to tour around the world. Among the leading LSO musicians were such luminous performers as James Galway (flute), Gervase de Peyer (clarinet), and Barry Tuckwell (French horn). Among the conductors working with the orchestra were Leopold Stokowski, Adrian Boult, Jascha Horenstein, Georg Solti, André Previn, George Szell, Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, John Barbirolli, Böhm, as well as Valery Gergiev and others.

Karl Böhm and Leonard Bernstein subsequently were the LSO Presidents. Clive Gillinson, a former cellist of the orchestra, served as the LSO Director from 1984 to 2005. It is believed that the orchestra regained its stability after a period of serious financial problems during his directorship. Since 2005, Kathryn McDowell has been the LSO Managing Director.

LSO participated in music recordings almost from the first days of its existence, including some acoustic recordings with Arthur Nikisch. A large number of records have been produced for HMV and EMI over the years of the orchestra existence. In the early 1960’s, the most prominent French conductor Pierre Monteux made a series of stereo recordings with the orchestra for Philips Records, many of which were re-released on CD.

Since 2000, LSO has been publishing commercial CDs under its own LSO Live label, founded with the assistance of Clive Gillinson.

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