The London Symphony Orchestra
The London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle at St Paul's Cathedral Image Credit: Mark Allen

The return of The London Symphony Orchestra to a newly-transformed Concert Hall in 2023

The London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall Monday 1 May, Tuesday 2 May, Wednesday 3 May 2023

6 mins read

Sydney – 6:00am Monday 15 August, 2022. The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) will make a triumphant return to Australia in April-May 2023 with internationally revered conductor, Sir Simon Rattle leading his final season as LSO Music Director.

Among the world’s finest orchestras, the LSO will perform two concerts in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, with a third program exclusive to the Sydney Opera House in celebration of its 50th anniversary year. This will be the first Australian tour by the LSO since 2014 and only their fourth trip Down Under in their 120-year history. The LSO made its Australian debut in 1966 and also toured in 1983. It is Sir Simon Rattle’s third visit to Australia.

LSO Music Director Sir Simon Rattle says, “It is always wonderful to be in Australia, and even more so after recent years – the feeling of sharing and experiencing live music together is something truly special. The program we’ve chosen to bring to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne includes some of my personal favourites, and shows the great range, skill and musicianship of this world-class Orchestra at its best.”

LSO Managing Director, Kathryn McDowell says, “It’s incredible to be able to bring 114 musicians including two Australians – Naoko Keatley (violin) and Belinda McFarlane (violin) – to explore and share our music with Australian audiences. This is the largest orchestra we’ve ever brought to Australia and Sir Simon Rattle has prepared an extraordinary program for the tour. Each visit to Australia has been a momentous occasion, just as this 2023 tour promises to be.”

The first program features John Adams’ HarmonielehreClaude Debussy’s La Mer and Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloé Suite No.2.

“Debussy’s La Mer and Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe are a delightful nod to the orchestra’s special sense of colour and ability to play so quietly and delicately.  It gives something very special to these works,” says Rattle. “John Adams Harmonielehre – a piece by a very dear friend of mine, which I’ve loved all my musical life, has become a signature piece for the LSO.”


The second program features a single work – Gustav Mahler’s epic Symphony No.7, which Rattle describes as “one of Mahler’s most astonishing and surprising and certainly his most forward-looking symphonies.” Adding that it is “exactly the kind of piece that will show the LSO in all its glory.”

An additional program at Sydney Opera House will feature Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No.7 performed in the edition by Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs“Benjamin is a leading specialist on Bruckner,” says Sir Simon. “Conducting the premiere of his edition of the Seventh Symphony was a real privilege, as it is each time that I return to conducting his arrangements of Bruckner – it is always like hearing Bruckner’s music afresh.”

The third concert will also showcase a new workSun Poemby brilliant young British composer Daniel Kidane“The LSO has been a pioneer in championing young composers, and we are delighted to bring this completely fascinating and deeply beautiful, commissioned piece to the iconic Sydney Opera House,” says Rattle.

Established in 1904, the LSO is Resident Orchestra at the Barbican in the City of London and recognised among the world’s top orchestras. The Orchestra has recorded some of film music’s most memorable soundtracks including Star WarsIndiana Jones and The Shape of Water. Along with a successful recording label, learning and community program, and streaming service, the LSO reaches around the globe to share extraordinary music with as many people as possible. 

The tour marks the end of Sir Simon Rattle’s tenure as Music Director for the LSO. Newly appointed Chief Conductor Sir Antonio Pappano will take the baton at the end of the 2023-24 season, while Sir Simon will become the LSO’s Conductor Emeritus and take up the position of Chief Conductor with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks in Munich. 

Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron AM says, “What a joyous moment it will be to see and hear one of the world’s greatest orchestras explore the acoustic potential of our newly transformed Concert Hall. The London Symphony Orchestra has a long history with the Opera House, having first played here when the building was still under construction in 1966. So we are honoured to welcome them back for this prestigious concert series as part of our 50th anniversary program, led by the great Sir Simon Rattle in his final Australian appearance with the orchestra.”

NSW Minister for the Arts Ben Franklin MLC says,“I’m delighted the NSW Government is able to support three spectacular nights of the London Symphony Orchestra directed by Sir Simon Rattle in the renewed Concert Hall through its Blockbusters Funding initiative. This once-in-a-lifetime event will be one of the centrepieces in the Opera House’s program of events and experiences to celebrate its 50th anniversary, providing an unparalleled opportunity for NSW and Australian audiences to experience a world-leading orchestra led by one of the living greats in classical conducting.”

MSO Managing Director, Sophie Galaise said, “The LSO and the MSO are kindred spirits, established within a few years of each other at the turn of last century. We share many values and passions as well as the titles of the oldest symphony orchestra in London and Australia, respectively.  We are thrilled to present the Victorian concerts of the national tour. This is a fantastic opportunity for Victorian audiences to revel in the majesty of one of the world’s finest orchestras under the baton of an exemplary conductor such as Maestro Rattle. We are extremely grateful to the Gandel Foundation, whose generous seed funding towards the MSO Forever Future Fund has made this visit possible. The MSO and our artistic family extend a heartfelt welcome to Sir Simon Rattle and the extraordinary players of the LSO.”

VIC Minister for Creative Industries, Tourism, Sport and Major Events Steve Dimopoulos said, “Victorian music lovers will rejoice at the opportunity to experience one of the world’s great orchestras under the baton of a once-in-a-generation conductor. Victoria is home to another of the world’s great orchestras: the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. They are to be applauded for their leading role in delivering this tour to Victorian audiences. This rare national tour brings another rich cultural experience to Melbourne, offering Victorians even more reasons to rekindle their love affair with Australia’s cultural capital.”

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas said it would be wonderful to again host one of the world’s most acclaimed orchestras for its first Australian season in almost ten years.“Touring an orchestra of this size and scale internationally is no mean feat and so this Australian season, opening at QPAC in Brisbane, is a rare opportunity for local audiences,”Mr Kotzas said.“With the lauded Sir Simon Rattle conducting the Orchestra in his last season with LSO, and his first appearance at QPAC, this is certainly the classical music event of the year and one not to be missed. The last time the LSO played at QPAC, their concert sold out in under 48 hours, and we expect to see the same demand for this return season.”

Queensland Minister for Communities and Housing, Minister for Digital Economy and Minister for the Arts, Leeanne Enoch, MPsaid, “It is incredibly exciting to once again welcome one of the world’s leading orchestras to Queensland. The London Symphony Orchestra was the official orchestra of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Ceremonies, so there is a fitting connection for Queensland as we prepare for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, when our arts and culture will be showcased on a global stage.”


PROGRAM
Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) BRISBANE

Friday 28 April 7.30pm
John Adams Harmonielehre
Claude Debussy La Mer
Maurice Ravel Daphnis and Chloé Suite No.2

Saturday 29 April 7.30pm
Gustav Mahler Symphony No.7

Sydney Opera House, SYDNEY

Monday 1 May 7.00pm
John Adams Harmonielehre
Claude Debussy La Mer
Maurice Ravel Daphnis and Chloé Suite No.2

Tuesday 2 May 7.00pm
Gustav Mahler Symphony No.7

Wednesday 3 May 7.00pm
Daniel Kidane Sun Poem
Anton Bruckner Symphony No.7

Hamer Hall, Arts Centre MELBOURNE
Presented by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

Friday 5 May 7.30pm
John Adams Harmonielehre
Claude Debussy La Mer
Maurice Ravel Daphnis and Chloé Suite No.2

Saturday 6 May 7.30pm
Gustav Mahler Symphony No.7

On-sale dates and details
 

Concert Hall, Sydney Opera Housesydneyoperahouse.com/lso

  • Insiders onsale 16 August
  • What’s On onsale 17 August
  • Pre-sale to previous LSO buyers 18 August
  • General public onsale 22 August 

Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne: General public onsale 22 August at mso.com.au/lso

Queensland Performing Arts Centre: General public onsale 17 August at qpac.com.au/lso

The Sydney Opera House season is proudly supported by the NSW Government through the Blockbusters Funding initiative

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