Hailed by Sir Simon Rattle as “an incomparable ambassador for the dynamism and excellence of British youth” the London Schools Symphony Orchestra (LSSO) has for over sixty years been celebrated as a potent symbol of the talents and achievements of London’s finest young musicians. Managed by London’s Centre for Young Musicians, a division of the Guildhall School, the orchestra aims to give its members a complete experience of the orchestral repertoire, from Bach through to Beethoven, Bartok and beyond. Playing in the LSSO is an opportunity to get to know great music from the inside out; to work with distinguished conductors; to accompany some of the world’s most illustrious soloists; and to form long-lasting friendships through the shared joy and excitement of making music together. Sponsored by the City of London Corporation, and part of the Guildhall School’s Centre for Orchestra Programme, the LSSO presents three Barbican concerts plus a summer tour every year. Courses run during the Christmas, Easter and Summer holidays, comprising intensive rehearsals and coaching by London’s top orchestral musicians. Participation in all courses is encouraged, but not mandatory.In the case of genuine need, financial assistance is available for course and  tour fees. Previous guest conductors have included Sir Colin Davis, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Richard Armstrong, Tamás Vásáry, and Leif Segerstam. The summer tour has taken the young  talent of London as far as Turkey, Japan, Poland, Argentina, Italy and the USA. Last season, the orchestra was in Sweden. In summer 2018, the orchestra is planning a tour to Transylvania.

LSSO Applications are now open

We’re delighted to announce that applications are now open to join the LSSO for what will be our 70th anniversary season!

If you’re between 14 and 19, live in London and play an instrument, we want to hear from you.

To apply, simply download, complete and return the application form to us by 30th September 2020 (either by email to elewis@cym.org.uk; or by post, to: Applications, PO BOX 65486, London, SE7 9DA).

LSSO Application Form

LSSO Alive! broadcast series

During the COVID-19 crisis, the LSSO is making use of a golden resource, the LSSO’s archive of filmed performances in bringing you a new online concert series sponsored by The London Grid for Learning Trust. This series of broadcasts, known as LSSO Alive! is an opportunity to relive past performances by the LSSO over the years, and to connect with LSSO members past and present.

Each Friday at 17:00 BST the LSSO’s Artistic Director, Peter Ash, makes a special announcement via the LSSO’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/londonschoolssymphonyorchestra/) which includes details of the upcoming performances in the LSSO Alive! series.

Each Saturday afternoon, an interview with three members of the next broadcast’s orchestra is posted.

Finally, every Monday at 19:30 BST, the LSSO will broadcast live a concert from the LSSO’s archives, preceded by interviews with the soloists and conductors involved, and with the accompanying programme (including Donald Sturrock’s wonderful programme notes, and an orchestra list) available as a PDF download.

Each concert may be viewed on the Facebook site for 72 hours, but if you log in during the livestream, you will be able to catch up with fellow LSSO alumni and friends through the chat forum.

To stay up-to-date on the LSSO Alive! series and related information, please follow the LSSO on Facebook by visiting our page at this link, or else by tuning in every Friday at 17:00 and every Monday at 19:30: https://www.facebook.com/londonschoolssymphonyorchestra/

Warmest wishes from the LSSO team.

LSSO Reviews: LSSO Reviews 2018

Peter Ash – Artistic Director

Peter Ash’s work as conductor has included world premieres at the Salzburg Festival, Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox for the Los Angeles Opera, and The Minpins, his own arrangement of orchestral music by Sibelius in St. Petersburg. In the UK, he has worked with many orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, various BBC orchestras, London Sinfonietta, City of London Sinfonia and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. His work in early music includes the first three Haydn productions for Garsington Opera, the opening concert of the 1991 Mozart Bicentenary Festival in Prague with Piotr Anderszewski, and Handel’s Belshazzar in Spain. As a composer, his opera Keepers of the Night, premiered by the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus in July 2007, was lauded by Alan Rich (Variety and LA Weekly) for its “charm, sophistication and deep beauty…a series of ensembles of truly bewitching complex harmonies”. His second opera, The Golden Ticket, based on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was premiered by Opera Theatre St Louis in June 2010 to enthusiastic acclaim. The critic of Opera Today praised Ash’s “unique aural palette,” while the Chicago Tribune described the show as “deliciously droll … an artful blend of simplicity and sophistication.” Further performances followed at the Wexford Festival Opera in Ireland and then in Atlanta, Georgia in the USA, where Ash conducted. A live recording based on these performances was described by Gramophone as “enchanting….(an) adroit transformation of Dahl’s book into an uproarious and endearing operatic adventure.” His most recent commission, The Pelicantata, is an unusual dramatic secular cantata designed to appeal to all ages. Based on Roald Dahl’s The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, it  received a standing ovation at its premiere with narrator Sir Tony Robinson and The Stroud Choral Society in Bath Abbey on 4th March 2017. Ash resides in London where he conducts the orchestras at the CYM and is Artistic Director of the London Schools Symphony Orchestra. He has led the LSSO for over ten years and taken them on tour all over Europe, as well as to Turkey and Japan.