Founded in 1968, the London Sinfonietta’s commitment to new music has seen it commission over 350 works, and premiere many hundreds more.
In its first concert on 24 January 1968, the London Sinfonietta gave the world premiere of John Tavener’s The Whale, which it then recorded (in 1970) for The Beatles’ label, Apple Records. In more recent years the ensemble has continued its commissioning relationship with a diverse range of composers including senior figures such as Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Colin Matthews and Steve Reich, while giving numerous opportunities to composers such as Tansy Davies, Luke Bedford, Edmund Finnis and Elspeth Brooke through concert commissions and cross-art form development programmes.
The London Sinfonietta has an extensive back catalogue of recordings made over 47 years, which have been released on numerous prestigious labels such as NMC Recordings, Dacapo and Rough Trade Records, as well as their own London Sinfonietta Label.
The London Sinfonietta has worked and recorded with experimental musicians such as Mica Levi and Matthew Herbert, and produced collaborations with contemporary artists such as Martin Creed and Christian Marclay. Innovative ways of promoting contemporary music to new audiences include collaborations with Warp Records (with concerts seen by over 25,000 people across Europe) and Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead.
Resident at Southbank Centre the London Sinfonietta places the best contemporary classical music at the heart of today’s culture; engaging and challenging the public through inspiring performances of the highest standard. Each season they commission and premier works from emerging and established composers whilst working with and supporting young composers to make new music.
The London Sinfonietta has a long history in working in education, and currently is building long term relationships with schools across North East London, focusing on assisting with composition in the classroom, instrumental skills and performance. Their schools concerts inspire young people with the music of today and introduce students to music performed by the UK’s leading contemporary music ensemble.
Recent performances have included a work called ‘…in vain…’ by the Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas. This requires the ensemble players to memorise extended sections of the music, which are performed in total darkness.
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