Before the Firebird

Before the Firebird is an interactive musical work by Paul Rissmann and Hazel Gould, created for young audiences.

The piece is an imagined prequel to Stravinsky’s famous Firebird story, and tells the story of 13 brave sisters, an evil king and a magical Firebird. This vibrant and engaging new story includes a singer/storyteller, dazzling music and plenty of audience participation.

What’s involved?

During  the LPO’s 2022/23 Season, Before the Firebird took various forms:

  • A premiere performance by the full Orchestra with guest choirs at our FUNharmonics concert on 13 May
  • A chamber-sized ensemble who performed Before the Firebird for primary schools and in a community setting in local venues in South London.
  • Teachers from participating schools took part in creative music CPD sessions and were provided with resources to maximise the impact of this magical, musical event with their children

Before the Firebird with schools

We were delighted to work with primary schools in Lambeth and Lewisham on our Before the Firebird project. Teachers took part in three CPD sessions led by LPO animateurs and musicians, covering creative music-making related to Before the Firebird, as well as ways to learn the audience participation songs.

Participating schools then experienced an interactive performance of Before the Firebird in their local area. Finally, schools attended our Key Stage 2 BrightSparks concert, connecting their experience of hearing the chamber ensemble with the thrill of seeing the full orchestra live.

The following schools took part:


  • Christ Church Streatham Primary School
  • Loughborough Primary School
  • St John’s Angell Town Primary School
  • St Jude’s Primary School
  • St Luke’s Primary School


  • Athelney Primary School
  • Elfrida Primary School
  • Haseltine Primary School

Community chamber performance

Families enjoyed a relaxed, small-scale performance of Before the Firebird at Woolwich Works on Saturday 20 May 2023 at 11.00am.

Before the Firebird is generously supported by the Lord and Lady Lurgan Trust

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