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Take Your Place: Announcing our 2021/22 Season

As the performing arts scene in the UK begins to re-emerges after the pandemic, the London Sinfonietta is encouraging all those it works with and for to ‘Take Your Place’ - with artists taking their place on stage in exciting performances, audiences returning for live concerts and participants in schools and communities around the UK joining in, writing and performing new music alongside us.    

And so, we proudly announce our 2021/22 season, which features a rich mix of new world premieres of original and thought-provoking music commissions, new ways of looking at modern masterpieces, and inventive music-theatre presentations, as well as new regular series of music performances on film and audio podcast content to engage wider audiences. The ensemble also redoubles its commitment to unite its live and digital work with our participation, learning and training programmes involving schools, communities, early-career artists and audiences across the UK. 

Chief Executive and Artistic Director Andrew Burke said: 

"New music for an ensemble like the London Sinfonietta is defined today by its range of styles made by a diverse set of music creators. We are excited to be able to plan concerts with live audiences again and proud to present a season which feature 24 new commissions and also celebrate the repertoire that the Ensemble has championed in the past. We continue to produce performances in which young people compose the music for us, and public participants perform alongside us. And we sustain our projects which train composers, conductors and musicians for a career in creating and performing new music. With a new series of filmed performances we will continue releasing our digital content for the wider online audiences who have discovered the excitement and passion of contemporary new music over the past months in lockdown.” 

New Music for New Audiences 

Exciting commissions in live performances in London and around the UK, combined with new digital content, will reach new audiences with live new music performances. 

Live performances 

Highlights include an exploration of the permeable border between new classical music and cutting-edge jazz, featuring some of the undisputed stars of the new British jazz scene (London Third Stream, 17 November), a ground-breaking double bill which pairs two new music pieces created from the speech rhythms of Welsh miners of the past with a visceral theatrical exploration of the fear of walking alone at night in our contemporary society (Then and Now, 6 February), while another world premiere re-presents ideas derived from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the help of public performers and audience participation (Night Shift, 10 March). A major highlight is bound to be the much anticipated new opera Violet (3 June then on tour), from playwright Alice Birch and composer Tom Coult, which tours various UK venues following its world premiere at Aldeburgh Festival (produced by Music Theatre Wales, Britten Pears Arts and in association with the London Sinfonietta). A celebration of modern Catalan music grouped around the work of visionary composer Roberto Gerhard recalls the London Sinfonietta’s earliest days (A Catalan Celebration, 1 December), while a retrospective looks at the music and influence of Canadian composer Claude Vivier (Long Song of Solitude, 6 May), and another special concert shines a light on new music out of Poland (Leaning East, 27 April)


The London Sinfonietta 21/22 Season will include 24 world premiere performances of new work commissioned by  and for the ensemble by composers including: Tom Coult, Elliot Galvin, Shabaka Hutchings, Laura Jurd, Cassie Kinoshi, George Lewis, Luke Lewis, Cathy Milliken, Nicole Lizée, Benjamin Oliver, Alex Paxton, Ailís Ní Ríain, Alicia Jane Turner.  

Digital content as part of the London Sinfonietta Channel: 

The London Sinfonietta expands the content of its digital Channel with regular video and audio releases. Across the season, a series of specially edited Performance Films of individual works from the 20th and 21st century and new commissions will include Toru Takemitsu’s Rain Coming, Tania Leon’s Toque, Mica Levi’s Greezy and Steve Reich’s Violin Phase.  A podcast series exploring the experiences of black composers, Yet Unheard, hosted by Jumoké Fashola will begin a new set of audio programmes about the contemporary classical music that the London Sinfonietta performs.  

Music in Schools & the Community 

The London Sinfonietta is committed to using the power of making and performing new music to engage and inspire young people and adults in schools and the community. 

Sound Out Schools Composition Programme 

The 20/21 season sees the Sound Out Schools Programme set new video Composition Challenges to teachers and pupils online and free to access. Young peoples’ pieces will be performed online by musicians from the London Sinfonietta. Supported by teacher CPD sessions and in-school creative workshops residencies we extend our reach across the UK – in London (Enfield, Haringey and Waltham Forest) as well as Southampton and the Isle of Wight and Gloucestershire. Our annual Sound Out Schools Concert (24 March) will once again welcome a live and online audience of around 12,000 budding composers young to experience live music at close hand and hear their works performed.

Music in the Community 

A new series of Community Commissions features Southampton and Coventry based composers sharing the stories of members of the public from their local area. Judith's Castle, a project focusing on the musical memories of an elderly couple living with dementia will see composer Electra Perivolaris collaborate with participants to create a new work in collaboration with Live Music Now and Theatre of Sound.

Public Participation in main-stage performances 

The public of all ages perform on stage with the London Sinfonietta - Alex Paxton’s new work (31 March) will also involve a chorus of young voices from a local primary school, while Cathy Milliken's new work Night Shift (10 March) will include two community choirs who will write part of the piece to explore themes of identity and barriers. We also continue to support Contemporary Music for All (6 March) in their biennial festival of new music delivering practical music making workshops and opportunities for amateur musicians to perform alongside members of the ensemble.

Developing Talent 

We continue to support young musicians, composers and students to explore contemporary classical music and develop their creativity and skills 

Training for Musicians & Conductors 

The London Sinfonietta Junior Academy (ages 12-18) and London Sinfonietta Academy (ages 18-26) will support young musicians to develop their skills and explore contemporary classical music supported by our musicians. The Junior Academy will offers a programme of live workshops throughout the year with opportunities to learn from our musicians and rehearse and perform contemporary repertoire. LS Academy will see a new group of young professional musicians and conductors embark on a six-month experience with us opening-up contemporary music, offering opportunities to work with our musicians and engage with our work. The course will culminate in a public concert at Kings Place (14 July).  

Support for Composers 

Three Writing the Future projects will culminate this year with performances of new works developed by Alicia Turner, Luke Lewis (6 February) and Alex Paxton (31 March). These composers have benefitted from close contact with London Sinfonietta musicians as well as from mentors and consultants who have helped inspire and shape their ideas into these new works. The London Sinfonietta’s Blue Touch Paper research & development programme will commission three composers to make new digital film and audio commissions for streaming on the London Sinfonietta Channel

Work with students 

More broadly we will work with Higher Education students through a music video creation project with Central Saint Martins culminating in a public sharing, sessions with the Institute of Education to support trainee music teachers and regular student ticket offers throughout the season open to students across London. 

Our commitments to Equality, Diversity & Inclusion and the Environment 

The London Sinfonietta is committed to be an organization that reflects today’s society and issues.  We are working to include more people from under-represented groups in our creative programme and our organization, as well as production projects partnership with places and communities of people to make art with and for them, inspired by their creativity and addressing their lives.  We are concerned about the environment and continue to commission work that advocates for change.  We are also seeking to minimize our own impact on it.   

Read our full Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Policy
Read our full Environmental Policy is here 

Resident Orchestra at Southbank Centre and Artistic Associates at Kings Place, the London Sinfonietta is excited to invite audiences to take their place at concerts once more. 




  • 4-14 November, Stones Nest 
    A radical retelling of Bartok’s classic opera, sung by Gerald Finley, Susan Bullock, Gweneth Ann Rand and Michael Mayes  
    Presented by Theatre of Sound, co-produced by Opera Ventures and in partnership with Stone Nest 
  • 17 November, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall 

    Four new commissions that blur the line between jazz and contemporary classical from Shabaka Hutchings, Cassie Kinoshi, Elliot Galvin and Laura Jurd, conducted by Geoffrey Paterson 
  • 22 November, hcmf// and 1 December, QEH Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall 

    A celebration of the legacy of Roberto Gerhard, alongside pieces by Lisa Illean and fellow Catalan composers Joan Magrané Figuera and Raquel García Tomás, conducted by Edmon Colomer 
    In association with Institut Ramon Llull 
  • 6 Feb, Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room 

    The culmination of Luke Lewis’ speech-to-melody transcription of historic recordings from a Welsh mining community and Alicia Turner’s music theatre presentation exploring the dangers women face as they walk home at night.  Conducted by Sian Edwards. 
    Both works created as part of the London Sinfonietta’s Writing the Future programme 
  • 6 March, Queen Mary University of London 

    Part of Contemporary Music For All’s (CoMA) biennial event in which CoMA and its partners celebrate the joy of participating in contemporary music making. 
  • 10 March, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall 

    This new piece by Cathy Milliken is an immersive musical experience where audience participation is central to its concept 
    Part of the “Connect – Audience as Artist” series of commissions, supported by the Arts Mentor Foundation Lucerne 
  • 24 March, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall 

    Our annual participatory concert for young people, exploring the building blocks of composition and performing some new works created by students in response to online Composition Challenges 
  • 31 March, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall 

    A kaleidoscopic new piece from Alex Paxton, integrating the rich sound world of improvisation with school children, alongside an important new commission from George Lewis 
    Alex Paxton’s work is created on the London Sinfonietta’s Writing the Future programme 
  • 27 April, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall 

    A celebration of contemporary life in Poland, featuring music from Penderecki, Wojciech Błażejczyk and Paweł Mykietyn and conducted by Jessica Cottis 
    In association with the ICCM 
  • 30 April, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall 

    A special interactive performance for families, including live on-stage sonic experiments and on-screen demonstrations 
  • 6 May, Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall 

    A celebration of the music and influence of Claude Vivier, plus a new commission from Nicole Lizée exploring isolation in contemporary society. With soprano Claire Booth and conductor Ilan Volkov 
  • 18 May, Kings Place 

    A concert exploring composers whose output was so distinctive that it influenced the course of music history, in an immersive and alternative music experience 
  • 3 & 5 June, Aldeburgh Festival then on UK Tour 
    A new opera by rising star composer Tom Coult and playwright Alice Birch, directed by Jude Christian 
    Violet is a co-commission and co-production by Music Theatre Wales and Britten Pears Arts, presented in association with the London Sinfonietta; The London performance is co-produced and presented by The Royal Opera in association with Hackney Empire 
  • 14 July, Kings Place 

    The culmination of this year’s London Sinfonietta Academy programme, a side-by-side performance by early-career performers 



Performance Films 

  • Toru Takemitsu  Rain Coming (London Sinfonietta Commission) 
  • Tania León  Toque 
  • Pierre Boulez  Derive I 
  • Mica Levi  Greezy (London Sinfonietta Commission) 
  • Steve Reich  Violin Phase 
  • Laura Bowler  Houses Slide (London Sinfonietta Commission) 
  • Luke Bedford  In the Voices of the Living (London Sinfonietta Commission) 
  • Elliot Galvin  Beginning of Sharpness (London Sinfonietta Commission) 
  • Laura Jurd  Ornette Variations (London Sinfonietta Commission) 
  • Cassie Kinoshi  Solaristic Precepts (London Sinfonietta Commission) 
  • Shabaka Hutchings  Hordes of Undemocratic Savages (London Sinfonietta Commission) 

Audio Programmes include:

  • Yet Unheard – The experience of black composers in contemporary music 

Video Programmes 

  • Introduction to Contemporary Instruments series 
  • Community Commissions series 



  • Sound Out Schools Composition - Gloucester schools residency 
  • Sound Out Schools Composition - Southampton schools residency 
  • Sound Out Schools Composition - London projects (Harringey, Enfield, Waltham Forest) 
  • Sound Out Schools Composition - Schools Concert (Southbank Centre) 
  • Community Commissions - Southampton project 
  • Community Commissions - Warwick project 
  • Judith’s Castle - Living with dementia project 



  • LS Junior Academy – Projects in London (Harringey, Enfield, Waltham Forest)  
  • LS Junior Academy – Projects in Southampton and Gloucester 
  • LS Junior Academy – Project with Junior Royal College of Music 
  • LS Academy – Conductors Course – participants from across the UK 
  • LS Academy – Musicians Course – participants from across the UK 
  • Royal Overseas League Composition Workshops & Project 
  • Writing the Future – workshops with composers 
  • Blue Touch Paper – digital commissions research & development project 
  • Central St Martins’ School of Art – music video project 

Download the full press release

London Sinfonietta 2122 WildKat season release.pdf

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Published: 8 Oct 2021