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2019/20 Southbank Season Announced


Read Southbank Centre’s press release in full here.
2019/20 Classical Season Event Listings here.
Images available to download here

London Sinfonietta’s 2019/20 season at Southbank Centre includes major new commissions and collaborations; it journeys from opera to jazz, reflects on the influence of the music of the past century on the music of today, and gets young people composing and performing new music in the Royal Festival Hall.

● A major new London Sinfonietta commission from Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas (in association with Southbank Centre) written in response to the work of celebrated British artist Bridget Riley. Brad Lubman conducts (5 Dec 2019). Other commissions in the season include a new viola concertante work by Edward Nesbit, one of the ensembles’ Writing the Future composers, and new work from Trish Clowes and Hannah Kendall.

● In the second year of an association with opera company, Music Theatre Wales, London Sinfonietta performs in the UK premiere of Denis & Katya, a new music theatre work by composer Philip Venables and writer/director Ted Huffman. Based on the true story of the untimely death of two Russian teenagers, this new work follows in the footsteps of the recent acclaimed Music Theatre Wales/National Dance Company of Wales production of Pascal Dusapin’s Passion for which the London Sinfonietta performed (13 & 14 Mar 2020).

● London Sinfonietta reunites with Norwegian jazz saxophonist and composer Marius Neset for the UK premiere of Viaduct, conducted by Geoffrey Paterson (21 Nov 2019). The work was premiered at Norway’s Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2018; a recording will be released in 2019. Viaduct follows London Sinfonietta’s collaboration on Neset’s award-winning 2016 album Snowmelt.

● The London Sinfonietta’s Sound across a Century explores the influence of the 20th century’s fast-changing culture on 21st century composition, from late romanticism to spectralism. Talks and films will contextualise the music and times. London Sinfonietta co-founder David Atherton returns to conduct the second concert (24 Mar 2020). The series concludes in Autumn 2020.

● Continuing its ongoing learning project exploring the basics of how to compose, perform and listen to new music in the classroom, London Sinfonietta’s Sound Out 2020 concert is the culmination of a season of collaborations with schools and music hubs (Mar 2020). School groups will experience the wonder of music-making in the Royal Festival Hall in a concert performed and composed by their peers and London Sinfonietta musicians.

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15 October at 7.30pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall

An evening of music for solos, duos and ensemble including the world premiere for solo viola by Edward Nesbit, one of the ensemble’s cutting edge Writing the Future composers, alongside another recent London Sinfonietta commission, Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s Five Lessons in a Frame.

21 November at 7.30pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall

London Sinfonietta welcome back dynamic jazz saxophonist Marius Neset, following their award-winning collaboration on Neset’s 2016 album Snowmelt. In November 2019, they combine forces on the jazz musician’s second commission for the ensemble Viaduct, which they premiered together at Norway’s Kongsberg Jazz Festival last year, and subsequently recorded for general release in 2019. Championed by legendary jazz artists Django Bates, the young saxophonist and composer has been wowing audiences in jazz bars, festivals and concert halls throughout the world since his debut. Together the unique energy of Neset’s live performance and the world-class contemporary classical ensemble create a live cross-genre experience like no other.

5 December at 7.30pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall

In December 2019, London Sinfonietta welcome back one of the 21st century’s most prolific European composers Georg Friedrich Haas, composing in response to a major exhibition of celebrated British artist Bridget Riley. Experience a performance that brings together two extraordinary artists of our time with conductor Brad Lubman who has conducted the orchestra in previous Haas performances in London, including Haas' immersive in vain, set in a blacked out Royal Festival Hall. 

22 January 2019 at 7.30pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall

In association with the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s upcoming 2020 Vision series, the London Sinfonietta present two concerts this season with a carefully curated programme aiming to explore the past 100 years of music and shifts that occurred in musical culture, charting impressionism to spectralism

13 & 14 March 2020, Purcell Room

This co-production from London Sinfonietta and Music Theatre Wales follows the success of last year's tour of Pascal Dusapin's Passion. Venable's new documentary opera, written and directed by Ted Huffman, accounts the extraordinary moments leading up to the death of two young teenagers in rural Russia in 2016, in a world seen through the eyes of social media.

24 March 2020 at 7.30pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall

The second of this series, explores the influence of the 20th century’s fast-changing culture on 21st century composition charting late romanticism to modernism. Talks and films will contextualise the music and times and London Sinfonietta co-founder David Atherton returns to conduct. This series concludes in Autumn 2020.

March 2020, Queen Elizabeth Hall

The London SInfonietta are pleased to announce its third year in an ongoing project committed to engaging young people. Sound Out 2020 will be the culminating concert of a season of collaborations within schools and music hubs, in which young people compose, learn, perform and experience new music in a concert especially designed for them. It presents the basics of how to compose, and where a musical idea starts and school groups are invited to come and experience the music live.


The London Sinfonietta is one of the world’s leading contemporary music ensembles. Formed in 1968, it has commissioned over 400 works, and given countless more premieres. Resident at Southbank Centre and Artistic Associates at Kings Place, with a busy UK and international touring schedule, the ensemble’s sixteen Principal Players are some of the finest solo and ensemble musicians in the world.

“The world’s top new-music ensemble” The Times

Across its 50 year history, the London Sinfonietta has worked with many of the greatest voices in new music, from leading composers of the post war period such as Luciano Berio, György Ligeti, and Karlheinz Stockhausen to the finest living composers and cross-disciplinary artists including Sir George Benjamin, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Tansy Davies, Steve Reich, Johnny Greenwood, Mica Levi, and Christian Marclay. Its ethos today is to constantly experiment with the art form, creating excellent, risk-taking work that pushes the boundaries of what new music can be.

In the 1980s, it launched the first ever orchestral education programme in the UK, and continues its pioneering education work to this day with a breadth of young talent training programmes; the London Sinfonietta Academy, Writing the Future, and Blue Touch Paper, as well as reaching over 2,000 school children annually through its Sound Out schools programme.

“Not your average night at the musical museum” The Guardian

The ensemble also has a tradition of digital innovation and in 2015 created Steve Reich’s Clapping Music App for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, a participatory rhythm game that has been downloaded over 250,000 times worldwide. Its extensive catalogue of recordings includes definitive interpretations of modern classics such as Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No 3 – which remains one of the world’s best-selling classical music recordings. More recent recordings include Sir George Benjamin’s opera Into the Little Hill (Nimbus; 2017), David Lang’s Writing on Water (Cantaloupe Music; 2018) and Philip Venables’ debut album Below the Belt (NMC; 2018). Major awards include the RPS Award for Best Ensemble (2010), the Evening Standard Award for Classical Music (1997) and a nomination for the 2016 Southbank Sky Arts Award for its commission of Tom Coult’s Spirit of the Staircase.  

For further information and images, please contact Niamh Collins, Marketing Manager | 020 7239 9340

The London Sinfonietta is grateful to Arts Council England for its National Portfolio funding, as well as its other generous supporters.

Published: 8 Feb 2019