The London Sinfonietta is delighted to announce its 2019 / 20 season which sees a step change in the ensemble’s ability to reach an increasingly diverse and widespread audience for the exciting new music made by composers and artists working today. Resident at Southbank Centre and Artistic Associates at Kings Place, the London Sinfonietta begins new touring projects and concert series that enable new and wider audiences to experience new music in wide variety of contexts, premieres major new commissions across disciplines and launches its new digital channel.


New London Sinfonietta digital channel launched presenting streaming of live events, composer discussions, online guides and content for schools

Performing in association with Music Theatre Wales presenting premieres and tours of major works by Gerald Barry, Philip Venables and Ted Huffman, plus Tom Coult and Alice Birch

Major new commissions and premieres including its first London Sinfonietta commission by Georg Friedrich Haas in response to Bridget Riley, plus new works by Tansy Davies and Marius Neset

A new UK touring network to widen access to contemporary repertoire across the 20th and 21st century, through chamber and family concerts

Public participation concerts performances with and associations with Contemporary Music for All

Developing new composers and performers through Writing The Future, Blue Touch Paper, London Sinfonietta Academy


“New music has been our passion for over 50 years. We also have a passion for reaching new audiences. As we continue to commission and perform new music to audiences in London, around the UK and abroad, the London Sinfonietta’s recorded back catalogue is being explored by audiences around the world. In 2020, we launch our New Music Channel to present online our recent performances and relay programmes about composers, their music, and the artists we work with. Along with our vital work in schools and our initiatives to develop talent in early-career composers and musicians, we aim to make new music part of contemporary society”. Andrew Burke, Chief Executive & Artistic Director


The launch of London Sinfonietta’s new digital channel in early January 2020 heralds an innovative new series of events in its annual calendar. These include: deferred streaming of unique live events from its past seasons (many not otherwise publicly available); live and online discussions with composers and artists to accompany digital events ‘first nights’; online guides to help viewers navigate works; extracts and lessons plans for participating schools. The first events to be streamed include the critically acclaimed CAVE by Tansy Davies and Nick Drake staged at the Printworks London, a disused factory in East London, in 2018 by tenor Mark Padmore and mezzo soprano Elaine Mitchener to critical acclaim. There’s also Richard Ayres’ 50th anniversary tribute to London Sinfonietta No 50 (The Garden) featuring bass Joshua Bloom, visual artist Martha Colburn and Sound Intermedia plus a tribute to Sir Harrison Birtwistle in honour of his 85th birthday which includes the composer in conversation with broadcaster Tom Service.

Music Theatre Wales – touring and premieres

As part of its ongoing association with Music Theatre Wales, the London Sinfonietta tour Irish composer Gerald Barry’s first opera The Intelligence Park, which, following its 1990 premiere, introduced a completely new operatic voice to the stage. Director/designer Nigel Lowery’s new, messed-up Baroque production rediscovers this extraordinary work that explores the chaos and catastrophe that ensues when an impoverished composer from 18th century Dublin falls for his lead castrato, who then elopes with the composer’s rich fiancée. Conducted by Jessica Cottis, noted as The Times’ 2019 "Classical 'face to watch'”, (apart from Birmingham where Tim Anderson will conduct). The Intelligence Park it is a co-production with the Royal Opera House and opens at the Linbury Theatre on 25 September before touring to Cardiff, Basingstoke, Manchester and Birmingham. Later in the season, Music Theatre Wales and London Sinfonietta perform the European premiere of Denis & Katya, a thought-provoking new work by Philip Venables and writer/director Ted Huffman, responding to the true story of two teenage Russian teenager runaways and their untimely death (UK tour 27 February – 27 March, including 13 + 14 March, Purcell Room, Southbank Centre). Plus Music Theatre Wales and the London Sinfonietta premiere Violet, the hotly anticipated new opera by Tom Coult and Alice Birch at Aldeburgh Festival in June 2020 , before going on to Buxton Festival in July 2020.

Major new commissions

The London Sinfonietta continues to commission the world’s leading composers to create ambitious new works. Its 2019/20 season features the world premiere of the ensemble’s first a major commission by Georg Friedrich Haas, co-commissioned by Southbank Centre. The work is in response to a major retrospective devoted to the painting of celebrated British artist Bridget Riley (23 October - 26 January).. Haas’ style, which juxtaposes different instrumental tunings, perfectly reflects Riley’s powerful work which contrasts blocks of colours in regular patterns (Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, 5 December). The London Sinfonietta premiere a new work by Tansy Davies, written for the London Sinfonietta and vocalist Elaine Mitchener, co-commissioned by London Sinfonietta and Kings Place, on 9 November as part of an evening of other works by Davies plus composers whose music she’s particularly drawn to; Naomi Pinnock and Clara Iannotta. Following their award-winning collaboration on his 2016 album Snowmelt, acclaimed Norwegian saxophonist Marius Neset and London Sinfonietta reunite with his second commission for the ensemble as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival (Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, 21 November).

Turning Points + Sound Across a Century

The London Sinfonietta Turning Points series gives audiences the opportunity to explore works by composers whose output was so distinctive it influenced the course of music history. In October the ensemble tour Turning Points: The Emergence of Minimalism, enabling audiences across the UK to discover works by three of its greatest exponents, Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Terry Riley. Touring to a new network of venue partners (Warwick, Cardiff, Bradford-On-Avon, Southampton) and funded by the Foyle Foundation, the ensemble will present evening performances together with a special afternoon family concert giving children from 7 – 11 the chance to get stuck in with the musicians on stage. Turning Points: Kagel presents an exciting programme of music by Argentinian-German composer Maurice Kagel who thought of his works as pieces of theatre (1 February, Kings Place, London) and Turning Points: Takemitsu focuses on Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu who had a close relationship with the ensemble (24 April, Kings Place). London Sinfonietta also presents Sound Across A Century - concerts which chart key repertoire from the 20th and 21st centuries. Taking place at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, the first concert in the series charts the evolution of modernist styles, from impressionism to spectralism conducted by Thierry Fischer (22 January), with the second (24 March) showcasing the development of music from late Romanticism to modernism and beyond, conducted by David Atherton.


The London Sinfonietta was the first ensemble in the UK to deliver an education programme and has pioneered activity in music education ever since. Its Sound Out programme includes creative classroom projects as well as its annual concert for primary schools where they can explore iconic repertoire and be inspired to compose. The concert at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on 12 March 2020 also features the premiere of a new piece featuring young musicians from the London Sinfonietta’s work with partner schools and music services. The ensemble’s ongoing Connect initiative sees new music created for members of the public to play alongside London Sinfonietta musicians, heard in performances by school and community groups from North-East London boroughs. The concert also includes new works by London Sinfonietta’s recently established Junior Academy programme to train teenage musicians in contemporary music performance skills (25 April, Queen Elizabeth Hall). The third bi-annual international festival of contemporary music produced by CoMA (Contemporary Music for All) returns in March 2020. Founded with the intention of involving musicians of all abilities in performances of contemporary music, the London Sinfonietta’s event in CoMA’s festival features new works performed by members of the public alongside the ensemble’s musicians.


London Sinfonietta plays a key role in developing emerging composers and performers through a wide range of activity. The fourth edition of the composer development programme Writing the Future launches in the 19/20 season, recruiting diverse composers to create new works for London Sinfonietta concerts. The first Southbank premiere of a new work by 18/19 Writing the Future composer Edward Nesbit will be performed as part of Solos, Duos, Ensemble featuring Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s Five Lessons in a Frame also written for London Sinfonietta musicians (Queen Elizabeth Hall, 15 October). The research and development project Blue Touch Paper also enters a new phase with composers being asked to create engaging digital works of art for online audiences. The 12th edition of the London Sinfonietta Academy provides year round workshops for young musicians with its annual Summer Academy encouraging young players from around the UK to hone their new music performance skills culminating in a public performance in July 2020. Plus the newly formed London Sinfonietta Junior Academy offers workshop days and performance opportunities for younger musicians.


© 1999 - 2019 Limited. All Rights Reserved