2020/21 season launch press release

Today we announce our 2020/21 Royal Festival Hall season.

23 September 2020 – 28 April 2021

  • Vladimir Jurowski, Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor, enters his final season in the role and conducts 14 Royal Festival Hall performances including two complete Wagner Ring Cycles with stellar cast

  • Edward Gardner, Principal Conductor Designate, opens the season with Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique and conducts three premieres

  • Brett Dean announced as new Composer in Residence and Young Composers programme mentor for the next three years

  • 11 premieres throughout the season including works by David Bruce, Brett Dean, Danny Elfman, Sofia Gubaidulina, Elena Kats-Chernin, Magnus Lindberg, Sir James MacMillan, Alexey Retinsky, Eric Tanguy and Lotta Wennäkoski

  • 2020 Vision series continues to explore the works that have defined the sound of the 21st century, programmed alongside music written exactly 100 and 200 years earlier

  • World premiere of Sir James MacMillan’s Christmas Oratorio conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, specifically commissioned to round off 2020 Vision

  • Outstanding line-up of guest conductors including Karina Canellakis, Alondra de la Parra, Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, Thierry Fischer, Klaus Mäkelä, Enrique Mazzola, Zubin Mehta, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Thomas Søndergård

  • Leading soloists include sitar player Anoushka Shankar; violinists Ray Chen, Simone Lamsma, Gil Shaham and Frank Peter Zimmermann; trumpeter Gábor Boldoczki; cellist Steven Isserlis; pianists Seong-Jin Cho, Tamara-Anna Cislowska, Alexander Gavrylyuk, Stephen Hough, Lucas & Arthur Jussen and Víkingur Ólafsson; percussionist Colin Currie; guitarist Miloš Karadaglić; and singers Jamie Barton, Mary Bevan, Allan Clayton, Gerald Finley, Mark Padmore, Matthew Rose, Toby Spence and Bryn Terfel

  • New creative partnership with l’Opéra Orchestre national Montpellier Occitanie and l’Orchestre de l’Opéra national de Lorraine to co-produce a family concert programme

The London Philharmonic Orchestra today announces its 2020/21 season at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, which sees Vladimir Jurowski’s final season as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor after 14 transformative years. Jurowski was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the LPO in 2003 and became Principal Conductor in 2007. Resident at Southbank Centre since 1992, the LPO’s new season has 41 main-stage concerts over 31 weeks, featuring some of the world’s leading soloists and conductors.

In announcing his final season as Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra before his retirement in June, Timothy Walker said:
“Everyone at the LPO wishes to acknowledge the extraordinary impact Vladimir has had on the Orchestra and we are delighted that we can present two Ring Cycles conducted by him as part of his final season. The Orchestra’s phenomenal partnership with Vladimir continues after the 2020/21 season when he becomes Conductor Emeritus and Edward Gardner becomes Principal Conductor. It is with eager anticipation and confidence that I look forward to seeing how this exciting partnership develops in a whole new era for the LPO.

Every musical organisation has a responsibility to ensure that the art form continues to engage, and be part of, its society and with 11 premieres and an unrivalled range of repertoire – performed by so many exceptional artists – I am immensely proud of all that we are offering to inspire audiences in 2020/21.”

Vladimir Jurowski, Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor, said:
“As I approach the end of my relationship as Principal Conductor with the superb musicians of the London Philharmonic, I look back on my long collaboration, both officially at the LPO’s helm, but also from the very beginning of my connection with them at Glyndebourne Opera, with an enormous sense of joy and pride at our mutual accomplishments.

It is of course a relationship that will continue as I become Conductor Emeritus, so this is not “farewell”, but only “auf wiedersehen”, but it does mark the close of my rich relationship with Timothy Walker, who has been a tireless and enormously valued artistic partner throughout my tenure. It has been a pleasure to work so closely with someone who shares my visions and fascinations about music and about how an orchestra should live and thrive in the 21st century, and I thank him for everything he has achieved.

In the meantime, however, we still have many wonderful projects planned to challenge and entertain our audiences, and 2020/21 will be another rich and inspiring season of music, notable particularly for reaching the culmination of our four year traversal of Wagner’s extraordinary Ring Cycle, as we present two full cycles of the tetralogy, each over one week as Wagner intended it to be experienced. For an orchestra so steeped in operatic tradition as the LPO, there really is no higher goal! I am also very pleased to be conducting the world premiere of a new Christmas Oratorio by Sir James MacMillan, as the climax of our 2020 Vision project, which I see as a vital commitment to further embedding in the repertoire some of the finest scores of recent years by our leading composers. I look forward to joining you all for another season of familiar and less-trodden paths.”


2020 Vision, the LPO’s year-long exploration into the definitive sounds of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, began in February 2020 and continues through to December 2020. The series sets out not only to define the sound of the first two decades of this century, but also to cast fresh light on the music of Beethoven in the 250th anniversary of his birth, as well as his contemporaries and the composers who came exactly one and two centuries after him. The LPO has chosen pieces that represent the definitive sounds of the 21st century, each paired with the defining masterpieces of Beethoven and his contemporaries of the 19th century, in addition to leading works from the 20th. Across the second half of 2020 Vision, works by John Adams, Julian Anderson, Brett Dean, Elena Kats-Chernin, Thomas Larcher, Magnus Lindberg, Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Lotta Wennäkoski have been selected by year of composition and combined with works written exactly 100 and 200 years earlier. The masterpieces from 1811-20 are dominated by Beethoven and Schubert, while the 1911-20 period is epitomised by major works by Bartók, Enescu, Nielsen, Prokofiev, Ravel, Sibelius and Stravinsky. Towards the end of the 2020 Vision series, the LPO looks even further back with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 and Orchestral Suite No. 1 which were composed in the late 1710s [2 & 5 Dec].

Through 2020 Vision the Orchestra is also proud to present a wide selection of major works written in the last 20 years that are not performed as often as they deserve, aiming to address the lack of repeat performances many new works encounter. This includes works such as Thomas Larcher’s A Padmore Cycle, written for tenor Mark Padmore, which has only been performed in the UK a handful of times since its first performance in 2011 [21 Oct]. Similarly, Krzysztof Penderecki’s Concertino for Trumpet and Orchestra receives only its second performance in the UK despite great international success, giving British audiences another chance to hear the work [11 Nov].

The year-long series culminates in the world premiere performance of a new large-scale choral work by Sir James MacMillan, Christmas Oratorio, commissioned especially by the LPO. Vladimir Jurowski conducts and is joined by soprano Mary Bevan, bass-baritone Christopher Maltman and the London Philharmonic Choir [12 Dec].

In addition to MacMillan’s Christmas Oratorio, the 21st-century strand of 2020 Vision includes the UK premieres of Magnus Lindberg’s Cello Concerto No. 2 - performed by Anssi Karttunen who gave the world premiere five years ago [7 Oct] - and Brett Dean’s The Players - with accordionist James Crabb, who gave the world premiere last year [5 Dec]. Lotta Wennäkoski’s Verdigris, a work written for chamber orchestra in 2015, is performed for the first time in London, conducted by Hannu Lintu [11 Nov]. Tamara-Anna Cislowska performs the European premiere of Elena Kats-Chernin’s Piano Concerto No. 3, a work she premiered in Brisbane in 2018 [2 Dec].

Continuing the LPO’s Beethoven Symphony Cycle, John Storgårds conducts Symphony No. 7 [30 Sep] and Karina Canellakis conducts No. 8 [3 Oct] as part of 2020 Vision. Schubert’s Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 become a key thread of the series, paired with major works that followed 100 years later including Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring [7 Oct], Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4 [21 Oct], Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5 [11 Nov] and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 [25 Nov].

The 2020/21 season marks Vladimir Jurowski’s last as the LPO’s Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor, before he becomes Conductor Emeritus. Jurowski conducts 14 Royal Festival Hall concerts with the LPO throughout the season, including the final three 2020 Vision concerts featuring three major new works; Elena Kats-Chernin’s Piano Concerto No. 3 [2 Dec], Brett Dean’s The Players [5 Dec] and Sir James MacMillan’s Christmas Oratorio [12 Dec].

2020 Vision also includes previous LPO commissions such as Julian Anderson’s The Discovery of Heaven, which was premiered in 2013 and later recorded by the Orchestra [30 Sep], and Magnus Lindberg’s Two Episodes which the LPO premiered in 2016 [25 Nov].


Contemporary music has long been a core part of the LPO’s output, and this season is no different with 11 premiere performances, five of which are part of the Orchestra’s 2020 Vision series (as outlined above).

Australian composer Brett Dean is the LPO’s new Composer in Residence for three years as of September 2020, and the Orchestra’s new season features three of his works: The Players, Cello Concerto and Komarov’s Fall. The LPO worked closely with Dean on his opera Hamlet in 2017, which was premiered at Glyndebourne to critical acclaim. Dean will also take on the role of Composer Mentor to the LPO’s Young Composers programme, where he will provide guidance and expertise to the five rising stars, and conduct the annual Debut Sounds performance, a major showcase of their work. Future seasons will include further UK premieres of work by Dean in addition to a new LPO commissioned work.

Aside from 2020 Vision, the Orchestra continues to perform 21st-century music throughout the season, including the world premieres of David Bruce’s new work for guitar – specially written for and performed by Miloš Karadaglić [14 Feb], and Danny Elfman’s Percussion Concerto, written for and performed by Colin Currie [26 Mar].

As part of Southbank Centre’s SoundState festival, Edward Gardner conducts a new music concert featuring the UK premieres of Brett Dean’s Cello Concerto and Sofia Gubaidulina’s On Love and Hatred alongside the London premiere of Eric Tanguy’s Affettuoso [27 Feb]. Brett Dean will also conduct his own Pastoral Symphony in a chamber performance with the musicians from the LPO’s Foyle Future Firsts, a scheme for aspiring orchestral musicians [27 Feb]. Elsewhere in the season, Vladimir Jurowski conducts the UK premiere of Alexey Retinsky’s De Profundis, a symphonic work that Jurowski selected at an anonymous contest as part of Moscow’s Another Space festival, later conducting the world premiere in 2018 [21 Apr].


In one of its boldest undertakings yet, the LPO presents Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen twice across two weeks at Royal Festival Hall [25-31 Jan and 5-10 Feb]. The star-studded concert stagings of the complete cycle will be conducted by Vladimir Jurowski as a highlight of his final season as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor.

The casts for the two Ring Cycles include many established Wagner specialists: Allan Clayton, Ruxandra Donose, Christian Elsner, Burkhard Fritz, Robert Hayward, Torsten Kerl, Lise Lindstrom, Kai Rüütel, James Rutherford, Brindley Sherratt and Derek Welton. A number of soloists will be making important role debuts, such as Matthew Rose as Wotan in Die Walküre and Brindley Sherratt as Hagen in Götterdämmerung.

Vladimir Jurowski says:
“Conducting the Ring is possibly the single most challenging undertaking for any conductor, but I cannot imagine a better partner for this than the London Philharmonic Orchestra. I hope that we have already shown that experiencing these operas in imaginative concert stagings is a hugely powerful and fulfilling way to enjoy Wagner’s magnificent scores and I hope that music lovers from around the world will join us for this momentous event.”


April 2020 sees Vladimir Jurowski conduct his final three concerts with the Orchestra as its Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor. Jurowski conducts the UK premiere of Alexey Retinsky’s De Profundis and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with Gil Shaham [21 Apr] before he is joined by Miah Persson for a programme of Richard Strauss and Rachmaninoff [24 Apr]. Tchaikovsky is at the centre of Jurowski’s final concert with a full-length concert performance of Swan Lake, a fitting end to his 14 years as Principal Conductor [28 Apr].

Edward Gardner – the LPO’s Principal Conductor Designate – conducts four concerts in the new season, including the season opener featuring Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique [23 Sep] and John Adams’s Harmonium [26 Sep]. As part of Southbank Centre’s SoundState festival, Gardner also conducts three premieres of works by Eric Tanguy, Brett Dean and Sofia Gubaidulina [27 Feb].

The LPO continues its involvement in Southbank Centre’s year-long Shankar 100 series, celebrating the centenary of the birth of Ravi Shankar. Following its revival of Sukanya in January 2020, the LPO is joined by Shankar’s daughter Anoushka for a performance of his Sitar Concerto No. 2, conducted by Zubin Mehta [18 Nov].

The London Philharmonic Choir returns to the Royal Festival Hall stage for a number of major choral works, including John Adams’s Harmonium [26 Sep], Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and Symphony No. 9 [24 Oct], Sir James MacMillan’s Christmas Oratorio [12 Dec], Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 [13 Mar] and more.


The LPO’s much-loved FUNharmonics series continues with three family concerts across the season. Karina Canellakis joins the LPO and presenter Rachel Leach to conduct an interactive programme themed around Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique [4 Oct]. A new international collaboration brings author and illustrator Chloé Perarnau’s witty picture book The Walkabout Orchestra to life on stage in a programme produced in partnership with l’Opéra Orchestre national Montpellier Occitanie and l’Orchestre de l’Opéra national de Lorraine, also presented by Rachel Leach [14 Mar]. For older children looking to take the next steps on their concert-going journey, the LPO revives its 2015 commission of Colin Matthews’s setting of Michael Morpurgo’s The Pied Piper of Hamelin [8 May].


The London Philharmonic Orchestra remains Resident Orchestra of Glyndebourne Festival Opera, where it has made its summer home for more than 50 years. This year the Orchestra performs Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress.

As part of a new residency at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, the Orchestra visits for four performances throughout the 2020/21 season, led by Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor Vladimir Jurowski, Principal Conductor Designate Edward Gardner and Christoph Eschenbach. Soloists for the Orchestra’s residency include Isabelle Faust, Antoine Tamestit, Ray Chen and Seong-Jin Cho. The Orchestra tours extensively in Germany and Austria throughout the season, and embarks on a Benelux tour in February. Edward Gardner also takes the Orchestra on a tour of the UK with pianist Seong-Jin Cho in March 2021.

The LPO continues its important south coast residencies in Brighton and Eastbourne, between which it gives 10 concerts each year. The Orchestra also continues its residency at Saffron Hall which began in the 2019/20 season. Here it performs four of its London programmes. The new residency enables the LPO to share its work with the audiences in the East of England regularly for the first time. Guest conductors and soloists include Colin Currie, Alondra de la Parra, Hannu Lintu, Daniele Rustioni, Toby Spence, Bryn Terfel, Simon Trpceski and more. In addition to the concert programme, musicians from the Orchestra will give masterclasses to local students and work on local community projects such as the music and dementia programme ‘Together in Sound’.

BBC Radio 3 continues to broadcast selected concerts across the season, and the LPO will record some concerts for its own label, bringing their performances to a wide audience. The LPO Label has released over 100 recordings since its launch in 2005. The full catalogue can be explored at lpo.org.uk/recordings.


The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Education & Community programme is at the heart of the organisation and brings the life-affirming power of music to schools, young people, adults and families across South London and beyond. Through its work, the Orchestra demonstrates its fundamental commitment to supporting inclusive and high-quality music-making for all, reaching more than 30,000 people of all ages and abilities a year.

The 2020/21 season sees an expansion and celebration of its flagship inclusive projects. LPO Junior Artists, the LPO’s free mentoring programme for talented teenage musicians from backgrounds under-represented in professional UK orchestras, will celebrate its fifth year. Many of its alumni, now in conservatoire, return to support the LPO Junior Artists: Overture scheme for younger students. The Open Sound Ensemble returns for its second year, offering free music-making opportunities for young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their parents/carers. The Orchestra’s two core inclusive programmes for adults - OrchLab, for disabled participants, co-delivered with Drake Music, and its partnership with Crisis, the national charity for homeless people – expand next season with new opportunities to perform and showcase their creative work at Royal Festival Hall, and for participants from both projects to work together on combined activity.

The LPO’s long-standing support for artist development and formal music education also continues as it welcome new cohorts of aspiring orchestral musicians and composers into the Foyle Future Firsts and LPO Young Composers programmes, and performs to over 10,000 young people and their teachers in its BrightSparks schools concert series at Royal Festival Hall. The LPO’s two digital platforms for creative music resources – The Studio for teenagers and secondary teachers, and Creative Classrooms Connect for Key Stage 2 teachers – will host new content across the season, further widening accessibility to the Orchestra’s work across the UK and beyond.

For further information, please contact Premier
Rebecca Johns This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 020 7292 7336 / 07715 205 196
Victoria Bevan This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 020 7292 7335 / 07917 764 318

Please find images of London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski here

Tickets go on sale to LPO Friends on 25 March and general sale opens on 3 March

More information from lpo.org.uk

To see the full season brochure click here

Full information about Southbank Centre's 2020/21 classical music season can be read here

Notes to Editors

One of the finest orchestras on the international stage, the London Philharmonic Orchestra balances a long and distinguished history with its reputation as one of the UK’s most forward-looking ensembles. As well as its concert performances, the Orchestra also records film soundtracks, releases CDs and downloads on its own label, and reaches thousands of people every year through activities for families, schools and local communities.

The London Philharmonic Orchestra was founded by Sir Thomas Beecham in 1932, and has since been headed by many great conductors including Sir Adrian Boult, Bernard Haitink, Sir Georg Solti, Klaus Tennstedt and Kurt Masur. In 2017 Vladimir Jurowski celebrated his tenth anniversary as the Orchestra’s Principal Conductor. Edward Gardner is currently Principal Conductor Designate, and will take up the position when Jurowski’s tenure concludes in September 2021.

The London Philharmonic Orchestra has performed at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall since it opened in 1951, becoming Resident Orchestra in 1992. As well as its London home, it also has flourishing residencies in Brighton, Eastbourne and Saffron Walden, and each summer plays for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, where it has been Resident Symphony Orchestra for over 50 years. The Orchestra also tours internationally, performing to sell-out audiences worldwide.

The London Philharmonic Orchestra broadcasts regularly on television and radio. It also works with the Hollywood and UK film industries, recording soundtracks for blockbusters including the Oscar-winning score for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In 2005 it established its own record label, which now numbers over 100 releases all available on CD and to stream or download.

In summer 2012 the London Philharmonic Orchestra performed as part of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames, and was also chosen to record all the world’s national anthems for the London 2012 Olympics. In 2013 it was the winner of the RPS Music Award for Ensemble.

The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s dynamic Education & Community programme provides first musical experiences to children and families; offers creative projects and professional development opportunities for schools and teachers; inspires talented teenage instrumentalists to progress their skills; and develops the next generation of professional musicians.

The Orchestra’s work at the forefront of digital technology has enabled it to reach millions of people worldwide: all its recordings are available to download and stream and, as well as a YouTube channel, the Orchestra has a lively presence on social media.

One of today’s most sought-after conductors, acclaimed worldwide for his incisive musicianship and adventurous artistic commitment, Vladimir Jurowski was born in Moscow in 1972, and completed the first part of his musical studies at the Music College of the Moscow Conservatory. In 1990 he relocated with his family to Germany, continuing his studies at the Musikhochschule of Dresden and Berlin, studying conducting with Rolf Reuter and vocal coaching with Semion Skigin. In 1995 he made his international debut at the Wexford Festival conducting Rimsky-Korsakov’s May Night, and the same year saw his debut at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden with Nabucco.

Jurowski will take up the position of General Music Director of the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich from the 2021/22 season. He is currently Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and, in 2017, celebrated ten years as Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic, having been appointed in 2007 following four years as the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor. In addition he holds the titles of Principal Artist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Artistic Director of the Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra, and Artistic Director of the George Enescu International Festival, Bucharest. He has previously held the positions of First Kapellmeister of the Komische Oper Berlin (1997-2000), Principal Guest Conductor of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna (2000-2003), Principal Guest Conductor of the Russian National Orchestra (2005-2009) and Music Director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera (2001-2013).

Vladimir Jurowski enjoys close relationships with the world’s most distinguished artistic institutions, collaborating with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, New York Philharmonic, Chicago and Boston Symphonies, and has also conducted the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras. He is a regular guest at the BBC Proms, Musikfest Berlin, and the Dresden, Lucerne, Schleswig Holstein, Grafenegg and Rostropovich Festivals.

Chief Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic since October 2015, Edward Gardner has led the orchestra on multiple international tours, including performances in Berlin, Munich and Amsterdam and at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival. Edward was recently appointed Principal Conductor Designate of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, with his tenure commencing in September 2021.

In demand as a guest conductor, the previous two seasons saw Edward debut with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Wiener Symphoniker and the Royal Opera House in a new production of Káťa Kabanová (praised as a ‘magnificent interpretation’ by The Guardian); while returns included engagements with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Philharmonia Orchestra and Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano. In April 2019, he conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Lincoln Center in New York.

Music Director of English National Opera for ten years (2006-15), Edward has an ongoing relationship with New York’s Metropolitan Opera where he has conducted productions of Carmen, Don Giovanni, Der Rosenkavalier and Werther. Elsewhere, he has conducted at La Scala, Chicago Lyric Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera and Opéra National de Paris.

Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre and one of the UK's top five visitor attractions, occupying a 17-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. We exist to present great cultural experiences that bring people together and we achieve this by providing the space for artists to create and present their best work and by creating a place where as many people as possible can come together to experience bold, unusual and eye-opening work. We want to take people out of the everyday, every day.

The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is made up of Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery as well as being home to the National Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. It is also home to four Resident Orchestras (London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment) and four Associate Orchestras (Aurora Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain).