A level seminar with Paul Rissmann

A level seminar with Paul Rissmann

Secondary School Events


Secondary School Concert - Spring 2015

Dangerous Times - Monday 9 March, 5-6pm, Barbican Hall

‘If they cut off both hands, I will compose music anyway, holding the pen in my teeth’. Shostakovich, 1936

Join the London Symphony Orchestra as they work through the music of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, reflecting on his situation, engaging with the conductor and exploring the awesome power of the symphony orchestra through this amazing and emotional work of art. 

1937. Stalin’s Russia. Dmitri Shostakovich was living on the edge. Many of his friends and relatives had been arrested, shot or simply disappeared. Shostakovich feared for his survival. His musical career had suffered a major blow. Now he had to write for his life, to compose a great symphony that would restore his reputation and save him from Stalin’s death camps. What goes through a composer’s mind when facing such an immense challenge? What decisions does he have to make about style, instrumentation, form and subject matter? 

This concert will give students the chance to learn the story behind the notes, exploring the historical and cultural influences which inspired Shostakovich to write his Fifth Symphony, as well as allowing them to see a live performance by the London Symphony Orchestra. 

Suitable for KS3, GCSE and A-Level students.

>click here for more information and booking

There are now learning resources online for all students and teachers attending this concert. Teachers are welcome to either look at the activities together as a class, or pass on to students to complete separately away from the classroom. The resources delve into musical elements and themes of this incredible piece of music, giving useful tools which support the national curriculum learning and enabling the students to sit back and enjoy the concert itself.

Please note that although the resources are aimed for Key Stage 3, older students should find them useful. They will be online after the concert so they can be used at any time.

Please click on this link to find the resources. You will need to create a username and password. 


Guided Concert Nights

The LSO's Guided Concert Nights offer the chance to learn the stories behind the notes and attend an evening LSO performance. This informal pre-concert workshop for secondary school groups, presented by LSO Animateur Rachel Leach, will give you an introduction to the repertoire you will be hearing in the concert. You will also meet an LSO player, who will play excerpts from the music and talk to you about life in the orchestra.

Workshops take place 6–7pm and the LSO Concerts begin at 7.30pm. Tickets to the evening concert are included in the workshop cost.

Upcoming dates for Guided Concert Night dates will be listed here when available.

A-level Seminar

The 2012 A-level Seminar took place in November. Four videos of this seminar are now available on the LSO's YouTube channel.

In the first film, Rachel Leach and LSO players explore Poulenc's Sontata for Horn, Trumpet and Trombone – one of the Edexcel set works for AS exams in 2015. 

Film 1 - Poulenc

The next three films provide an overview of musical styles, split into the major periods of Western classical music. These are designed to help support A-level Listening and Analysis papers.

Film 2 - Renaissance and Baroque

Film 3 - Classical and Romantic

Film 4 - 20th Century

Most previous A-level Seminars are still available for students to watch online. Click here to watch the 2011 A-level seminar (Brahms Piano Quintet in F Minor, Opus 34) or click the link below for earlier videos.

The A-level Seminar will not be taking place in the academic year 2014/15, but please visit the relevant LSO website pages for useful online resources from past seminars.

LSO Discovery A-Level Seminars are supported by the Clore Duffield Foundation.

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