Discover orchestral London

And learn about the leading names behind Music to Remember

Eleven London-based orchestras and venues where you can hear classical music have come together to showcase their activities through this Music to Remember website.

We enjoy working together to share our enthusiasm for music with our audiences and to celebrate the unique flavour of each organisation. May we introduce ourselves?

The orchestras

© Lara Platman

BBC Symphony Orchestra

At the heart of British music for more than 80 years, the BBC SO performs an exciting, distinctive and wide-ranging season of concerts at the Barbican, offering everything from works at the centre of classical music to world premieres from today’s finest composers. The BBC SO provides the backbone to the BBC Proms and makes regular studio recordings, some of which are free for the public to attend. The vast majority of concerts are broadcast on BBC Radio 3, streamed online and available on BBC iPlayer.

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© Richard Cannon

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Have you ever been to a classical music concert that left you on a high, stopped your breath or moved you to tears? No? Then the orchestra in your ears has never been as brave as the LPO.

We think it’s our job to change your mood, the way you feel, even the way you think. If that sounds unlikely, you should hear us play Mahler’s 'Resurrection Symphony'. Or ‘Komarov’s Fall’ by Brett Dean. Or a 'Lord of the Rings' soundtrack. In 1956, we were the first British orchestra to perform in Soviet Russia. We were first into China in ’73. The same spirit of adventure impels our fearless conductors today. So the music we play is rarely the music you expect. And, more often than not, you will be transformed by what you hear – for moments, for days, for ever …

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The London Sinfonietta

The London Sinfonietta is one of the world’s elite contemporary music ensembles with a reputation built on the virtuosity of its performances and ambitious programming. It is committed to placing new music at the heart of contemporary culture and pushing boundaries; the ensemble regularly undertakes projects with choreographers, video artists, filmmakers and collaborations with electronica artists, jazz and folk musicians. The London Sinfonietta is a Resident Orchestra of Southbank Centre in London.

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© Alberto Venzago

London Symphony Orchestra

The London Symphony Orchestra is widely regarded as one of the world's leading orchestras and is renowned for its world-class performances, its energetic and ground-breaking education and community programme, LSO Discovery. The LSO is also famous for its record and film recordings, which include all six 'Star Wars' films.

At its Barbican home in the City, the LSO promotes more concerts than any other orchestra in London, and its recording label, LSO Live, is the most successful of its kind. The Orchestra's family of soloists and conductors is second to none and includes principal conductor Valery Gergiev, LSO president Sir Colin Davis, and principal guest conductors Daniel Harding and Michael Tilson Thomas.

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© Eric Richmond Harrison and Co.

Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment

Originality, freshness and zest.

Originality: members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) play on original instruments (or copies of them) and in styles appropriate to the age of the music. So you get to hear something close to what Mozart or Beethoven actually intended rather than a modern version.

Freshness: the OAE isn’t a full-time orchestra. We don't perform every day and we don’t play Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony every other month. This means that when we do perform, we’re really excited about it. We like to think that this excitement comes across.

Lastly, Zest: this is the X factor. We actually love what we do. How often do you see an orchestra smile on stage? We do. We’re passionate about our music and want you to be too.

Originality, freshness and zest. The last two make us sound a bit like a gin and tonic. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

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Philharmonia Orchestra

Acknowledged as the UK’s foremost musical pioneer with an extraordinary recording legacy, the Philharmonia Orchestra leads the field for its quality of playing and for its innovative approach to audience development, residencies, music education and the use of new technologies in reaching a global audience.

Together with its relationships with the world’s most sought-after artists, most importantly its principal conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Philharmonia is at the heart of British musical life.

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Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

The story of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) is colourful and dramatic with a reputation worldwide for music-making of the highest quality. In 1946 Sir Thomas Beecham set out to create a world-class ensemble from the finest musicians in the country. Beecham envisioned an orchestra that would bring the greatest music to audiences across the world and, to this day, Beecham’s legacy lives on under the directorship of maestro Charles Dutoit.

Over the years, the RPO has become a byword for exceptional quality and versatility, undertaking a diverse range of activities from traditional concerts in concert halls to classical spectaculars and ‘cross-over’ concerts in pop arenas. The orchestra is London-based and performs regularly at the Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall and the Royal Festival Hall. It uses its schedule in the capital as a springboard for a comprehensive regional touring programme.

Internationally, the orchestra undertakes a busy schedule with regular performances in Europe and tours to the USA, Russia and Far East Asia. The RPO has also enjoyed a long partnership with the major record labels, recording with some of the most well-known artists of our day.

The orchestra also has its own record label, which includes the popular Here Come The Classics™ series. The orchestra’s forthcoming concerts include a great choice of world-renowned artists and a wide variety of repertoire, ranging from Beethoven to Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich to Gershwin, and from a film gala concert to an evening devoted to symphonic rock. To find out more about the RPO’s live performances, please visit our website (click on the blue 'Read more' link below).

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