2017/18 season launch press release

Today we announced our 2017/18 season at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall. Highlights including our continuing Belief and Beyond Belief festival in partnership with Southbank Centre, a new festival dedicated to the life and work of Stravinsky, and a special performance of Das Rheingold in honour of Vladimir Jurowski's 10th year as our Principal Conductor.

• Vladimir Jurowski marks 10 years as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of London Philharmonic Orchestra

• Jurowski leads an extensive chronological celebration spanning the whole of 2018 of the life and works of Igor Stravinsky, Changing Faces: Stravinsky’s Journey

• LPO and Vladimir Jurowski begin their first ever Ring Cycle with a gala concert performance of Das Rheingold featuring an all-star cast

• Jurowski opens his tenth season with George Enescu’s opera Oedipe

• Belief and Beyond Belief festival continues in 2017 with focuses on ‘Judgement’, ‘War & Peace’ and ‘Rituals & Seasons’

• Premieres include Gerald Barry’s Organ Concerto for Thomas Trotter (London premiere), Anders Hillborg’s Homage to Stravinsky (world premiere), Bryce Dessner’s Concerto for Two Pianos for the Labèque sisters (world premiere) and the UK premiere of Joseph Marx’s An Autumn Symphony (1922)

• Eight-concert choral focus showcasing the London Philharmonic Choir performing Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Rossini’s Stabat Mater and many works by Stravinsky

• Principal Guest Conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducts four RFH concerts this season, and guest conductors include Thomas Adès, Mikhail Agrest, Alain Altinoglu, Łukasz Borowicz, Dirk Brossé, Michail Jurowski, Sir Antonio Pappano, Alondra de la Parra, Vasily Petrenko, John Storgårds, Marius Stravinsky and Robert Trevino

• Pianists include Leif Ove Andsnes, Inon Barnatan, Luca Buratto, Peter Donohoe, Alexander Ghindin, Richard Goode, Andrey Gugnin, Benedetto Lupo, Beatrice Rana, Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev, Daniil Trifonov and the Labèque sisters

• Other soloists include Kristóf Baráti, Andreas Brantelid, Ray Chen, Julia Fischer, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Sergej Krylov, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Gil Shaham, István Várdai and Jan Vogler

• LPO celebrates 30 years of its Education and Community programme

• First full year of LPO Junior Artists, an orchestral experience programme for talented musicians aged 15-19 from communities and backgrounds currently under-represented in professional UK orchestras.

‘Orchestral music can fill the gaps left by the material world.’ Vladimir Jurowski

The London Philharmonic Orchestra today announced its 2017/18 season of concerts at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, which marks Vladimir Jurowski’s 10 years as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor. He begins his 10th anniversary with Enescu’s Oedipe as part of the ongoing year-long Belief and Beyond Belief festival which continues until the end of 2017. He then leads the Orchestra in a year-long exploration of Igor Stravinsky: Changing Faces: Stravinsky’s Journey – dedicating the majority of its concerts in 2018 to this leading light of the 20th century.

Alongside the specially curated Stravinsky celebrations, Vladimir Jurowski and the LPO celebrate 10 years of dynamic partnership with a semi-staged gala performance of Wagner’s Das Rheingold (27 Jan). The opera marks the beginning of an exciting operatic odyssey: both the Orchestra’s and Jurowski’s first Ring Cycle. Das Rheingold builds on their recent critically lauded and sell-out performances of Die Meistersinger and Tristan und Isolde at Glyndebourne Festival Opera.

Other highlights of his 10th anniversary season include performances of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and the world premiere of Anders Hillborg’s Homage to Stravinsky.

Timothy Walker, LPO Chief Executive and Artistic Director, said: ‘Vladimir’s impact on the LPO during the last ten years has been profound and wide-ranging. With his intellectual rigour, dynamic musicianship and brilliance as an artistic leader he’s ensured that the LPO is internationally celebrated for its programming and excellence of music-making. We all owe him a huge debt of gratitude for everything he brings to the LPO and our audiences.’

The LPO last season:
- Gave 145 performances to 325,000 people in concert halls around the world
- Engaged with over 30,000 people through education and community projects

The LPO has:
- Over 600,000 views on YouTube for its Abbey Road Final Fantasy XV live stream concert
- Nearly 1,700,000 monthly listeners on Spotify

Timothy Walker added:
‘In a complex world of competing calls on people’s time and attention, all of us at the LPO are dedicated to bringing the power of orchestral music to everyone – whoever they are, wherever they are. From the shared emotional experiences of our live performances to our broadcasts and recordings, which reach millions more in a myriad of ways, we want to share the highest standards of excellence in performing and programming and make orchestral music open to the broadest possible audience, inspiring all those we touch.’

Changing Faces: Stravinsky's Journey

Changing Faces: Stravinsky’s Journey is a 22-concert, year-long exploration of music by Stravinsky, his predecessors and contemporaries, and features talks, new commissions and events.

Building on his previous composer focuses on Schnittke and Rachmaninoff, Artistic Director of this series Vladimir Jurowski turns to another fellow Russian, Igor Stravinsky, programming a selection of his music chronologically to paint a vivid picture of the composer’s changing style: from his youth amid the glittering fairytales and doomed splendour of Imperial Russia, through to the Parisian premieres of The Rite of Spring, The Firebird and Petrushka, to his final period of works adopting his own unmistakably Stravinskian atonality. The LPO sets his works alongside his teachers, contemporaries, friends and rivals, from Rimsky-Korsakov to Ravel.

The series continues into the 2018/19 season with works such as the Symphony in Three Movements and a concert performance of The Rake’s Progress, and finishes with a selection of his revolutionary late works such as Threni and his penultimate work, Requiem Canticles (1966).

Artistic Director of Changing Faces: Stravinsky’s Journey Jurowski, who conducts nine concerts in this series during the 2017/18 season, says:
‘Stravinsky is one of the few personalities through whose personal development we can define the development of the entire music of the 20th century. There are big differences in his compositional style, but one thing should remain clear for performers and listeners: whatever period we are tackling, all of his music sounds like Stravinsky. He is infinitely fascinating to today’s audience: you can hear how much his music anticipated our zeitgeist, our feeling for life.’

Concerts in the series include:
- The composer’s Symphony No. 1, his youthfully exuberant graduation piece, alongside works by two of his teachers, Glazunov and Rimsky-Korsakov, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski (3 Feb).
- Jurowski conducts the original version of Stravinsky’s The Firebird alongside Scherzo fantastique and Funeral Song. Alexander Ghindin – a pianist born into the Russian tradition – joins for the folk-inspired Piano Concerto by Stravinsky’s friend and inspiration, Rimsky-Korsakov (7 Feb).
- Juanjo Mena conducts The Rite of Spring, a work that changed the course of modern music after its premiere in Paris (21 Feb).
- Vasily Petrenko makes a welcome return for the composer’s Song of the Nightingale, a cautionary tale of man and machine inspired by the horrors of the First World War (23 Feb).
- Stravinsky adored the joy in Tchaikovsky’s music, and his ballet The Fairy’s Kiss transforms Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty into something that magically fuses the spirit of both composers. Pianist Daniil Trifonov completes the evening’s programme by performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, all conducted by Vladimir Jurowski (17 Mar).
- Schubert and Weber might seem unlikely inspirations for Stravinsky, but not so. Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducts Apollon musagète, the Capriccio for piano and orchestra with Peter Donohoe, Schubert’s Symphony No. 3, and the Konzertstück by Weber, whom Stravinsky lauded as ‘a prince of music’(21 Mar).
- In a stunning programme welcoming back Patricia Kopatchinskaja with Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto, the London Philharmonic Choir sings three sacred choral miniatures: Credo, Ave Maria and Pater Noster alongside a masterpiece of the composer’s deeply held faith, the Symphony of Psalms (24 Mar).
- Stravinsky’s melodrama Perséphone is the focus of Thomas Adès’s concert, which includes his own Powder Her Face suite and the UK premiere of Gerald Barry’s Organ Concerto (11 Apr).
- Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff travelled across Europe and America before ending up as unlikely neighbours in Hollywood. John Storgårds conducts Rachmaninoff’s dazzling Symphony No. 3 alongside Stravinsky’s Jeu de Cartes (13 Apr).
- The classical splendour of Stravinsky’s Symphony in C is heard alongside Debussy’s Fantaisie, heard in the 100th anniversary year of Debussy’s death (18 Apr).
- Vladimir Jurowski conducts Gil Shaham in Beethoven’s iconic Violin Concerto alongside Stravinsky’s Ode, a work inspired by Orson Welles, Jane Eyre and the death of a friend. Stravinsky remains a potent and enduring inspiration, and Anders Hillborg’s Homage to Stravinsky and Yuri Falik’s Requiem for Igor Stravinsky pay testament to the composer’s legacy (21 Apr).

Belief and Beyond Belief

The London Philharmonic Orchestra rounds off Belief and Beyond Belief, its year-long festival in partnership with Southbank Centre, investigating what it means to be human in the 21st century, with a series of concerts in 2017 on the themes of ‘Judgement’, ‘War & Peace’ and ‘Rituals & Seasons’.

A concert performance of George Enescu’s masterpiece Oedipe opens the season and the theme of ‘Judgement’ (23 Sep). Britten’s Cello Symphony – written for dissident Mstislav Rostropovich – is the focus of the second, alongside Silvestrov’s groundbreaking Symphony No. 3, which caused havoc for the Soviet authorities in 1966 (27 Sep). Conductor Daniele Rustioni joins to conduct the final concert in this theme, with Hannes Minnaar performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 alongside Rossini’s Stabat Mater (21 Oct).

Principal Guest Conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducts the first of the ‘War & Peace’ concerts with Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1, a work written immediately after the death of Stalin, alongside Rachmaninoff’s celebratory Symphonic Dances. The Lay Vicars of Westminster perform Gregorian Chant and Dona nobis pacem by Pēteris Vasks, a vicar’s son who lived under Soviet oppression (25 Oct). Orozco-Estrada further explores the theme with Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 (Leningrad), composed in a city under siege, smuggled through enemy lines and played through loudspeakers at the surrounding Nazi forces: a work literally from the front line of war (27 Oct). The final concert explores troubled peace with Tchaikovsky’s joyously over-the-top musical celebration of Napoleon’s defeat in Russia, the 1812 Overture. When Beethoven heard that Napoleon had abandoned the ideals of liberty and equality, he scratched out the dedication of his Third Symphony, also performed in this concert, leaving the music free to tell its story (8 Nov).

The four final concerts of Belief and Beyond Belief explore ‘Rituals & Seasons’. Michail Jurowski, Vladimir’s father, makes a welcome return to conduct a programme of the seasons, from Bridge’s Summer to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 (Winter Daydreams) (22 Nov). Marius Stravinsky continues the seasonal theme with Kabalevsky’s Spring and Glazunov’s The Seasons (24 Nov) and LPO’s leader Pieter Schoeman plays Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons (24 Nov). Autumn is the focus of Vladimir Jurowski’s concert with Julia Fischer, featuring Chausson’s rapturous Poème alongside Respighi’s Autumn Poem and Austrian composer Joseph Marx’s An Autumn Symphony. This UK premiere of Marx’s hymn to nature is a real musical rediscovery by Vladimir Jurowski, a piece that had been forgotten for over 80 years after its controversial premiere in Vienna in 1922 (29 Nov). J S Bach saw himself as a craftsman serving God, and his monumental Christmas Oratorio, which Vladimir Jurowski conducts here, concludes the year-long Belief and Beyond Belief festival (16 Dec).

Celebrating 30 years of the LPO's Education programme

The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s education work is at the heart of the organisation and is a vital area of its activities.

This year the LPO celebrates 30 years of its education and community work that has been a trailblazer leading the sector in bringing 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.

Among the many programmes it runs, the LPO brings music to life through BrightSparks concerts for over 10,000 young people; supports GCSE student composers and young people in SEN settings; and offers direct professional development for primary school teachers and LPO musicians through the innovative Creative Classrooms project.

The 2017/18 season sees the second of a new three-year partnership with Leonard Cheshire Disability and Drake Music – OrchLab – in which Leonard Cheshire service users take part in live and online creative music-making inspired by the Orchestra’s repertoire, enhanced by groundbreaking assistive technology.

2017/18 sees the first year of LPO Junior Artists, an orchestral experience programme for talented musicians aged 15-19 from communities and backgrounds currently under-represented in professional UK orchestras. Other opportunities for young people include LPO Soundworks, fostering creativity in communities, with young composers and instrumentalists working with young experts from other art forms to devise collaborative performances.

2017/18 will be the 14th year of the LPO’s Foyle Future Firsts Development Programme, bridging the transition between college and the professional platform for up to 16 young players annually, and offering a chance to receive lessons and play side-by-side with LPO players and take part in a wide range of professional development opportunities. The parallel LPO Young Composers scheme gives five composers each season the opportunity to develop new works for the combined forces of the Foyle Future Firsts and members of the LPO, led this season by composer and conductor Sir James MacMillan, his first year on the scheme.

As always, the themes and repertoire of the Orchestra’s mainstage concerts form the heart of its Education and Community work. This season, projects celebrating Stravinsky include special family and schools’ performances of Petrushka with newly commissioned visual animations, a cross-arts creative performance by LPO Soundworks, and a pre-concert performance of works by, and inspired by, Stravinsky with the Foyle Future Firsts.

Other season highlights

Opera superstar Diana Damrau makes her debut with the LPO performing Strauss’s Four Last Songs with Music Director of the Royal Opera House, Sir Antonio Pappano (3 Mar).

Cabaret sensation and international siren Meow Meow makes a welcome return for a show with a festive twist (4 Dec).

Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 is conducted by Alondra de la Parra with pianist Luca Buratto performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2, written in a Russia on the brink of revolution (27 Apr).

The ever-popular FUNharmonics series for children and families opens with a screening of the 2011 animated film version of The Gruffalo’s Child – the sequel to the much-loved The Gruffalo, complete with René Aubry’s original score (22 Oct). The second concert of the season ‘Hip, Hip, Hooray!’ is a super-sized concert featuring young instrumentalists and singers from London Music Masters, Junior Trinity and South London music services (25 Feb) and the final concert, as part of Changing Faces: Stravinsky’s Journey, looks at one of the composer’s most magical scores – Petrushka – featuring the glittering score and specially commissioned animations (10 Jun).

For the final concert of the season, Anne-Sophie Mutter makes a welcome return with Penderecki’s impassioned Violin Concerto No. 2. Two powerful wartime testimonies begin and end the programme: Panufnik’s Heroic Overture and Prokofiev’s mighty Symphony No. 5, premiered in 1945 to the sound of gunfire. Łukasz Borowicz conducts (2 May).

The LPO continues its residencies at Brighton, Eastbourne and Glyndebourne, where this year it performs Verdi’s La traviata, the world premiere of Brett Dean’s Hamlet, Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos and Donizetti’s Don Pasquale.

The Orchestra continues to tour extensively, visiting Austria, Belgium, China, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Romania, Spain and Switzerland in 2017/18. The LPO has always been in demand internationally and has visited 302 cities worldwide. In 1973 it was the first Western orchestra to visit China, marking its 40th anniversary season.

The LPO will record a selection of concerts to be released on its own label, as well as streamed on its website and live on BBC Radio 3. The LPO Label has released 95 recordings since its launch in 2005, almost ten a year.