Skip to main content
Toggle menu

Our mission

The London Sinfonietta’s mission is to place the best contemporary classical music at the heart of today’s culture; engaging and challenging the public through inspiring performances of the highest standard, and taking risks to develop new work and talent. Founded in 1968, the ensemble's commitment to new music has seen it commission nearly 400 works, and premiere many hundreds more.

If I were the British Government, I'd declare the London Sinfonietta a national treasure...long may they continue to make new music. Steve Reich

Resident at Southbank Centre and Artistic Associates at Kings Place, with a busy touring schedule across the UK and abroad, its core is 16 Principal Players, representing some of the best solo and ensemble musicians in the world. The group also works with talented Emerging Artists, to ensure the unique expertise of its Principals is passed on to the next generation of performers. 

Having held a world-leading position in education and participation work for many years, the London Sinfonietta continues this with a belief that arts participation is transformational to individuals and communities, and new music is relevant to people’s lives.

The ensemble has an extensive back catalogue of recordings made over 50 years, which have been released on numerous prestigious labels as well as its own London Sinfonietta Label. Recent recordings include George Benjamin's opera Into the Little Hill (Nimbus; 2017), a collaboration with Norwegian saxophonist Marius Neset on Snowmelt (ACT; 2016), a limited edition run of LPs in collaboration with Christian Marclay (2015) and a disc of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s music (NMC; 2015) which topped the classical music chart. 

The London Sinfonietta has also broken new ground by creating Steve Reich’s Clapping Music app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, a participatory rhythm game that has been downloaded over 200,000 times worldwide since its launch in late 2015.

Browse our 2019/20 Season brochure


We're delighted to present London Sinfonietta’s 2019/20 Southbank Centre Season; Look Again at the Way You Listen featuring a range of works from core 20th century repertoire to 21st century masterworks and brand new digital initiatives. We open our Southbank Centre season with a nod to Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s 85th birthday celebrations in Solos, Duos, Ensemble (15 October 2019) which includes a collection of duets by the esteemed British composer. The concert also presents a world premiere by Writing the Future composer Edward Nesbit alongside works by Chaya Czernowin and Cheryl Frances Hoad. This event features solo performances from London Sinfonietta Principal Players Paul Silverthorne (viola) and Mark van de Wiel (clarinet).

Excited to welcome back Norwegian jazz saxophonist/composer Marius Neset and his quartet, we perform the UK premiere of Neset’s album Viaduct as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival. Following their award-winning collaboration on Neset’s 2016 album Snowmelt, this is a live performance not to be missed (21 November 2019). The following month we present the London Sinfonietta commission of prolific Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas and his homage to the renowned British artist Bridget Riley, which takes place simultaneously alongside the exhibition of Riley’s career at the Hayward Gallery. A perfect opportunity for culture vultures seeking out world-class art and music (5 December 2019).

In January 2020, we enter a new decade with the launch of London Sinfonietta’s New Music Channel – a platform to present new music performances and programmes about music, composers and artists. Our video, audio and article series will offer insights into the ensemble and its repertoire, along with digital commissions created exclusively for the platform. Keep an eye out for further announcements.

The New Year also brings a brand new London Sinfonietta series Sound Across a Century, with conductors David Atherton and Thierry Fischer. Presented by professor Jonathan Cross, we explore the story of evolution in music of the 20th and 21st centuries through music, discussion and film - including repertoire by Boulez, Debussy and Webern to Elizabeth Lutyens, Kaija Saariaho and more (22 January & 24 March 2020).

Our association with Music Theatre Wales continues with the modern tragedy of Philip Venables’ new opera Denis & Katya, with direction and libretto from Ted Huffman. Bringing to life the final moments of a teenage romance and their use of social media in these poignant moments, Venables explores how stories are shaped and shared in today’s 24/7 online world. Winner of the The Fedora Prize for Opera in Venice this year, take your chance to experience this thought-provoking work by one of “the finest composers around” (The Guardian) (13 & 14 March 2020). Starring Emily Edmonds (mezzo-soprano) and Johnny Herford (baritone).

Events in our spring season reinforce our commitment to music in schools and the community. Sound Out 2020 welcomes school groups to the Royal Festival Hall to explore new music and the building blocks behind composition, whilst Connect invites members of the public to take part in a work composed to include the audience in its very making. Musicians of Tomorrow sees the culmination of our summer London Sinfonietta Academy course, presenting to the world the future of new music.