Anton Bruckner: Who he was, and why his music continues to thrill

Anton Bruckner came from a humble village background and rose to become one of the Greats of classical music. Critics consider him a master of harmonic and rhythmic invention, a radical counterpoint to what had gone before.

Delve into the Austrian composer's life, inspiration and why his music continues to captivate us today, ahead of Sunday's concert at the Barbican: Bruckner's Journey to the 'Romantic' Symphony, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.

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Lucy Crowe on childhood, lockdown and performing with the LSO

soprano Lucy Crowe

Our Autumn 2021 season starts this weekend! And acclaimed soprano Lucy Crowe bookmarks our September to December series of concerts from our Barbican home with performances on 12 September – including the world premiere of Exiles by Julian Anderson, Natural History by Judith Weir and Vaughan Williams’ A Pastoral Symphony – and on 16 December, with Mahler’s blissful Symphony No 4.

Ahead of it all, Hannah Fiddy spoke to Lucy about how her goals and aspirations have shifted during lockdown, being bullied as a child and her thoughts on the pieces she’s singing with the LSO.

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Alex Groves on preparing for the LSO Soundhub Showcase: 'Composition has to be collaborative'

Alex Groves sat on a bench

One of the multiple premieres we'll hear in this Saturday's Soundhub Showcase is Curved Form (No. 23) by Alex Groves. A former Member and now Associate of the LSO's scheme supporting early-career composers, Alex reveals what the final preparations before the concert will be for a piece that, before this week, he's never heard before!

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BMW Classics: Leia Zhu on Saint-Saëns and performing with the LSO for the first time

This year's BMW Classics will have many firsts: the first time our open-air concert has returned to Trafalgar Square since 2019; the first time Ayanna Witter-Johnson's lockdown piece DreamCity will be performed by LSO East London Academy Musicians; and the first time violinist Leia Zhu performs with the London Symphony Orchestra. Ahead of Sunday's concert, we speak to Leia on what she is looking forward to on the day, and her favourite thing about Saint Saëns' music. 

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Together with Music: Vialma and the LSO

As we engage with music online more and more after this past year, we’re excited to introduce you to one of our newest partners, VialmaWant to meet and chat live with members of the LSO? Here’s how:

Gain access to Vialma’s exclusive online concert series Together with Music to stream our performances into your living room in full HD, and get the chance to put your questions live to members of the orchestra as they share what it’s like to play on the Barbican stage.

What is Vialma?

Vialma can fill your day with music at the touch of a button. As the only streaming service to combine world-class audio and video recordings with in-depth articles and entertaining podcasts, you can find everything you need to enrich your daily life all in one place and under one easy, monthly subscription.

vialma devices 

With the complete works of more than 5,000 composers and 100,000 musicians at your fingertips, you’ll never run out of music to explore. If you’re not sure where to start, allow Vialma to suggest one of the 1,000 playlists they’ve curated to suit your every mood. Or if you need a night off, take your seat in their virtual concert hall and stream one of hundreds of exclusive live concert videos, all in stunning HD, right into your own home.

Together with Music

As part of our new partnership, we’re excited to promote Vialma’s new interactive virtual concert series, Together with Music, available exclusively on their platform. Tune in together with people around the world to enjoy spellbinding performances by world-class musicians, and get a chance to meet and have your questions answered live by the artists themselves.

We’re honoured that Vialma will be featuring two concerts with the LSO over the coming months. The first concert, on Thursday 22 July at 7pm BST, celebrates our long-awaited residency at the Aix-en-Provence Festival this summer with Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, featuring mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená and tenor Andrew Staples under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. To mark our performance of this epic work at the Festival in July, Vialma will be streaming an exclusive performance featuring the same line-up, recorded live at the Barbican in May this year.

Magdalena Kozena sings Das Lied von der Erde with the LSO conducted by Sir Simon Rattle

Andrew Staples sings Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the LSO conducted by Sir Simon Rattle

Magdalena Kozena and Andrew Staples performing Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the LSO and Sir Simon Rattle, Barbican Hall, May 2021. Photos: Mark Allan

Joining this stream live will be LSO First Violin Maxine Kwok and cellist Eve-Marie Caravassilis, sharing thoughts on their experience in the LSO and what it was like behind the scenes during this concert. They’ll be on hand to offer expert information on the work as it plays, and of course answer your own questions live as they come in. Also, stay tuned for a message from Sir Simon Rattle just for Vialma members at the start of each concert.

We’re also proud to share with you, on Thursday 29 July at 7pm BST, our performance of Janáček’s Sinfonietta and Sibelius’ Symphony No 5, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and recorded at the Barbican in 2018 as part of our Roots and Origins series. LSO percussionist, David Jackson, will be joining the stream live to answer your questions and share his own insider information, as the celebratory fanfares and soaring strings evoke the myths and legends of this programme full of magic and folklore. 

5 trumpeters playing in Janacek's Sinfonietta

Five of the 14 trumpets playing in Janacek's Sinfonietta, Barbican Hall, 2018

And if chatting live with our musicians isn’t enough, you can take advantage of the extra content created by Vialma with followers of the LSO in mind. With bespoke playlists created by members of the LSO just for you (including one by Sir Simon Rattle), exclusive interviews, and articles, you can get closer to our musicians and become even more a part of the LSO family.

Become a member here for just £1 and join us for Together with Music, only on Vialma.