London Chamber Orchestra (LCO)

The London Chamber Orchestra (LCO) is one of the finest chamber orchestras in the world, with over 100 years of history and a reputation for furthering the avant-garde and maintaining a dialogue with tradition, thereby redefining orchestral music in the UK as a source of discovery, education, enrichment, and community-building.

As the UK’s first professional chamber orchestra, the LCO prides itself in its strong roots and a welcoming atmosphere that promotes a passionately inclusive connection with audiences. Indeed, when Finnish violinist-conductor Pekka Kuusisto led the orchestra, the Guardian reported that “everyone on stage seems to be having a whale of a time, and this feeds into a performance in which the music sounds new-minted”.

The LCO prides itself in premiering works by major composers like Stravinsky, Vaughan Williams, Prokofiev, Poulenc, Respighi, Delius, de Falla, and Villa Lobos, and also, most recently, by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Hindemith, James MacMillan, Freya Waley-Cohen, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Gabriel Prokofiev, and Nicholas Korth. The orchestra firmly believes in supporting emerging new voices and annually appoints a resident composer, a position currently held by Dani Howard.

The careful quality of their work has been highlighted in numerous reviews, awakening audiences to the joys of classical music: “It is the merit of the playing in this performance [of Elgar’s Cello Concerto] that it exposes facets of the music one had overlooked or taken for granted” (Gramophone).

Their prestige and openness to experimentation has led them to work alongside the most famous artists world-wide: a commissioned piece by Nigel Hess featured Lang Lang, while a performance of Mendelssohn was accompanied by the live painting of synaesthetic artist Jack Coulter. Other prominent collaborators include Vladimir Ashkenazy (LCO President), Julian Lloyd Webber, Jörg Widmann, Melvyn Tan, Michael Thompson, and Maria João Pires, among many others.

The orchestra has a London season at Cadogan Hall and is led by Principal Conductor Christopher Warren-Green. It has toured the UK and performed around the world in stages that include La Scala in Milan and City Hall in Hong Kong, as well as in venues across the USA and Europe. The LCO holds the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Camilla and performed at the Royal Wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Aside from recordings by EMI, Sony, and Virgin Classics, the LCO Live label, in partnership with Signum Classics, regularly issues work by contemporary composers. This year they released Music from the Ghetto, which celebrates Jewish musical tradition, with new pieces by Ailenberg, Braun, Bruch, and Shalit, featuring soloists Simca Haled (cello) and Jack Liebeck (violin). The recording was hailed as “an important release . . . flawlessly done” (David Nice, BBC Music Magazine).