LSO East London Academy

The LSO East London Academy, a new programme beginning in 2019, aims to identify and develop the potential of young East Londoners between the ages of 11 and 18.

Through the provision of free, inspirational coaching delivered by the LSO’s world-class musicians, the Academy will offer high-level training and mentoring to 40 young musicians annually from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds who show exceptional promise.

Its aim is to accelerate the instrumental learning, confidence and aspirations of talented East London musicians – increasing the pool of young people from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to achieve entry to a conservatoire and pursue a career in music.

The entire programme will be free, acting as a bridge between secondary school – where so many young people drop out of music education – and conservatoires, the vital next step into professional musicianship. Currently the costs of this type of training elsewhere can be as much as £3,000 a year.

The Academy will open at LSO St Luke’s in Spring 2019. The Academy team, working with the Music Education Hubs in each of the ten boroughs, will reach out across East London to actively seek out the very best talent. Selected participants will benefit from the full resources of the London Symphony Orchestra including masterclasses with LSO players.

The first year’s programme will focus on working with 20 string players. In year two approximately 20 woodwind, brass and percussion players will be added, thus alternating the recruitment each year, building towards the creation of a chamber orchestra. At the conclusion of each cycle of the programme the young musicians will perform in a public concert at LSO St Luke’s, which will include invited industry professionals across the music and education sectors.


The full programme will be announced shortly.

From April 2019
Young musicians at Grade 5 level or above will be invited to attend workshops with LSO musicians held in local community venues across East London. Following the workshops, five young musicians per borough – 50 in total – will be nominated by their local Music Service, with input from the LSO, to attend an intensive training course at LSO St Luke’s during the summer break from school.

July 2019
An intensive two-day course wil be led by members of the London Symphony Orchestra and will develop participants’ ensemble skills through repertoire coaching, creative work, section masterclasses, instrumental technique sessions, and wellbeing workshops. At the culmination of the course, the participants will perform a concert together as a full orchestra, sitting side-by-side with LSO musicians.

Twenty of these young musicians will progress to the full LSO East London Academy in the Autumn, selected through a blind-audition process. All will gain experience of auditioning, and unsuccessful participants may be invited to return the following year, or be nominated again by their Music Service.

Autumn 2019
The LSO East London Academy will take place throughout the autumn term, with full days of intense coaching at weekends, designed to stretch each of the 20 participants beyond their current
abilities. Training will include coaching in small chamber groups, masterclasses and ensemble coaching for orchestra.

The programme will culminate in a public concert at LSO St Luke’s showcasing the work across the term, participants performing in diferent ensemble sizes and side-by-side with LSO players in a
chamber orchestra. Alongside the general public, participants’ friends and family will be invited to attend as well as industry professionals from across the music and education sectors.

From April 2020
Workshops and recruitment for the second intake.

Spring/Summer 2020
The 20 participants in year one of the programme will be invited to continue to year two, and will take part in a programme of “Experience Days” over the school summer break.

July 2020
Intensive Orchestral Training Course for new participants recruited as for the second year, together with the students from the first year.

Autumn 2020
LSO East London Academy programme, as above, including both Year One and Year Two participants.

December 2020
The students in their second year of the Academy leave the programme at this point. The Academy will work with partner organisations across the sector to establish and  strengthen progression routes for the LSO East London Academy participants beyond the end of the programme.

2021 onwards
The pattern of work continues as above with with 20 new students selected every year, and 20 from the previous year, making a total of 40 students per year.

The LSO East London Academy is developed by the London Symphony Orchestra in partnership with the local Music Services in ten East London boroughs: Bexley, Barking & Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Havering, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

The LSO East London Academy is made possible through the generous support of The Henocq Law Trust, Linklaters LLP, Mishcon de Reya, The Radcliffe Trust and The Lord Mayor’s Appeal 2017.