The London Philharmonic Orchestra: sharing the wonder of orchestral music.
Uniquely groundbreaking and exhilarating to watch and hear, the London Philharmonic Orchestra has been celebrated as one of the world’s great orchestras since Sir Thomas Beecham founded it in 1932. With every performance we aim to bring wonder to the modern world and cement our position as a leading orchestra for the 21st century.
Where we play
Our home is at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, where we’re at the beating heart of London’s cultural life.
You’ll also find us at our resident venues in Brighton, Eastbourne and Saffron Walden, and on tour throughout the UK and internationally, performing to sell-out audiences worldwide. Each summer we’re resident at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, combining the magic of opera with Glyndebourne’s glorious setting in the Sussex countryside.
Principal Conductor Edward Gardner
Our Principal Conductors have included Sir Adrian Boult, Bernard Haitink, Sir Georg Solti, Klaus Tennstedt and Kurt Masur.
In September 2021 Edward Gardner became our Principal Conductor, and Vladimir Jurowski became Conductor Emeritus in recognition of his impact as Principal Conductor from 2007–21. Karina Canellakis is our current Principal Guest Conductor and Tania León our Composer-in-Residence from September 2023.
You’ll often see and hear us on TV, radio and video games, and you’ll almost certainly have heard us on the soundtracks for films including The Lord of the Rings. We also release recordings on our own LPO Label, which is growing all the time – there are now over 120 releases available to download or buy, and we’re the world’s most-streamed orchestra, with 15 million plays of our content each month.
We’re committed to inspiring the next generation of musicians and music-lovers: there’s nothing we love more than seeing the joy of children and families enjoying their first musical moments, and we’re passionate about equipping schools and teachers through schools’ concerts, resources and training. Reflecting our values of collaboration and inclusivity, our OrchLab and Open Sound Ensemble projects offer music-making opportunities for adults and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
Today’s young instrumentalists are the orchestral members of the future, so we have a number of opportunities to support their progression. Our LPO Junior Artists programme is leading the way in creating pathways into the profession for young artists from under-represented communities, and our LPO Young Composers and Foyle Future Firsts schemes support the next generation of professional musicians, bridging the transition from education to professional careers. We also recently launched the LPO Conducting Fellowship, supporting the development of two outstanding early-career conductors from backgrounds currently under-represented in the profession.
Sharing the wonder
We’ve always been at the forefront of technology, finding new ways to share our music worldwide. We continue to work with Marquee TV to broadcast selected live concerts throughout the season, so you can share or relive the wonder from your own living room.
A potted history of the LPO
Sir Thomas Beecham conducted the newly formed London Philharmonic Orchestra in its first public appearance, at the Queen’s Hall.
Sir Edward Elgar conducted his now-famous Violin Concerto with the young rising star Yehudi Menuhin as soloist.
The original company was liquidated and the players took control. Principal Horn, Charles Gregory, was elected first Chairman of the new LPO.
We took part in the last concert given in London’s Queen’s Hall before it was destroyed in the Blitz.
We gave the world premiere of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 (Leningrad), in a BBC studio broadcast under Sir Henry Wood.
We took part in the first concert at the newly-opened Royal Festival Hall on London’s South Bank.
We gave the UK premiere of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, under Sir Adrian Boult at the Royal Festival Hall.
We touched down in the Soviet Union with Principal Conductor Sir Adrian Boult for a two-week tour, becoming the first ever British orchestra to appear in Soviet Russia.
We became the first British orchestra to tour to Australia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, India and Sri Lanka (then Ceylon).
We played at Glyndebourne’s summer festival for the first time, the start of a wonderful relationship that lasts to this day.
We performed for the first time in the USA, beginning this major tour in New York with a concert at Carnegie Hall conducted by Principal Conductor Bernard Haitink.
In our 40th anniversary season we became the first Western orchestra to be invited to visit China.
One of the great orchestra-conductor relationships began: Klaus Tennstedt made his first appearance with us, conducting Mahler’s First Symphony at the Royal Festival Hall.
We became the first British orchestra to visit South Africa post-Apartheid.
Vladimir Jurowski gave his first concert as Principal Conductor, as we celebrated our 75th anniversary season.
We were chosen to record the world’s national anthems for the London 2012 Olympics.
We were invited to perform at the launch of London’s newest and tallest skyscraper, The Shard.
We performed as part of a flotilla on the River Thames for The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
We won the prestigious ‘Ensemble’ award at the RPS Awards, recognising our major involvement in Southbank Centre’s 2013 The Rest Is Noise festival.
We became the first UK orchestra to perform in Iceland’s new Harpa concert hall in Reykjavík.
We performed at Runnymede Park as part of the celebrations of the 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta, attended by Her Majesty the Queen and Prime Minister David Cameron.
During the COVID-19 pandemic we were unable to give public concerts but continued our relationship with audiences and engaged many new audiences – around the world – through ‘LPOnline’, an extensive programme of distanced performances and online content. In recognition of this, we were later named runner-up in the 2020 Digital Classical Music Awards.
Karina Canellakis became our Principal Guest Conductor.
Brett Dean became our Composer-in-Residence for the next three years.
Edward Gardner became our 13th Principal Conductor, succeeding Vladimir Jurowski, who became Conductor Emeritus in recognition of his transformative impact on the Orchestra as Principal Conductor from 2007–21.
The Orchestra returned to live concerts with audiences at the Royal Festival Hall.