LSO St Luke’s Celebrating 10 years

Euan Murdoch is travelling Around the World in 60 Days and blogging about it…


Today I Met with Karen Cardy- Centre Director and Laura Sheldon- Artist Development Associate Projects Manager, LSO Discovery

“Ten years ago this week in 2003, the London Symphony Orchestra, together with its corporate partner UBS, opened LSO St Luke’s, having transformed what was a ruined church into the exceptional building and truly unique music venue that you stand in today.”  Karen Cardy, 10th Birthday Festival Welcome

LSO St Luke’s offers a comprehensive range of artist and audience development programmes that introduce new and emerging artists to new audiences. Many of these programmes involve LSO players who are also resident at the centre. It is a state-of-the-art facility that encourages innovation and high-quality work, while also being open to the wider community. Their diverse performance programme defies definition as it crosses over into many different musical styles and genres.

The 10th Birthday Festival held over 12 days featuring 17 events spans from international chamber ensembles such as Vienna Piano Trio, Wihan Quartet and Nash Ensemble to concerts by resident community ensembles including a choir, gamelan and two local orchestras, one made up of local youth that performed at the Olympics last year and another simply called Not(e) Perfect Orchestra ! A number of the projects feature emerging composers who are part of various resident schemes with catchy names such as Soundhub and DTG (Digital Technology Group). UBS Soundscapes: Eclectica is a programming strand that allows world-class musicians to push the boundaries. Last but not least their resident professional chamber orchestras LSO Strings and the dynamic new 27-piece Aurora Orchestra.

I loved what a reviewer had to say about the latter: “In a city suffocating with musical activity, Nicholas Collon’s Aurora Orchestra lets in more fresh air than most. The aim is to make an audience hear anew, not by sugaring any pills, not by didactic explanation, not by light-shows, but by context. I was gripped from start to finish.” Hilary Finch, The Times

Clearly LSO St Luke’s is a hub that generates a huge amount of artistic momentum and this has become integral to the way that the orchestra moves forward and engages with the community. They are developing new audiences for their adventurous programmes and encouraging participation as a way of deepening experiences.

I have come away inspired by what’s happening at LSO St Luke’s and convinced that while having a dedicated facility like this can speed up the process of connecting artists and audiences, the most important ingredient is having a vision that faces out and is larger than the sum of its parts.

LSO aspires to ‘make the finest music available to the greatest number of people’.

– Euan, 22.03.2013

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