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Press Release: BMW Classics 2024


This free summer concert highlights the continued partnership between BMW Group and the London Symphony Orchestra, which for the last twelve years has brought superlative live orchestral music to audiences in one of the world’s most iconic public spaces, Trafalgar Square, and to tens of thousands more around the globe watching on YouTube.

The 2024 BMW Classics concert conducted by Duncan Ward opens with Emmanuel Chabrier’s exuberant crowd-pleasing Joyeuse marche with Brahms’ similarly frenzied and rhythmic dance piece Rondo alla zingarese to follow. For the central section of the concert, the LSO play the world premiere of Joanna Lee’s new work, beams.bellows.bounds, specially commissioned for this occasion. This piece, written for a mixed-ability orchestra, brings together LSO and Guildhall School musicians with 50 young musicians from east London as part of the LSO Discovery programme. For the final half of the concert the Orchestra will perform Stravinsky’s magical score for the ballet Petrushka.

Commenting today, Dame Kathryn McDowell, Managing Director of the LSO said, ‘BMW Classics concerts are the highlight of the Orchestra’s London Season, an important fixture in London’s summer calendar of music events and always a great moment to capture an audience of first timers and passersby, there is nothing quite like it. On behalf of the LSO and our audiences in Trafalgar Square and online, a big thank you to our esteemed partner BMW, and the Mayor for London for making this possible.’

Mr Walter Mertl, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Finance said: ‘Thanks to our 13-year partnership with the London Symphony Orchestra, this summer Trafalgar Square will once again be transformed into London’s biggest concert hall. BMW’s commitment to great music is an integral part of our global cultural engagement, which has been inspiring people around the world for more than half a century. I am very much looking forward to seeing Duncan Ward, the LSO and young musicians on stage in one of the world’s most famous public spaces.’

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: ‘I am delighted that the London Symphony Orchestra will return to play in the heart of our capital this summer for BMW Classics. Trafalgar Square will once again become our biggest open-air classical concert venue entertaining both Londoners and visitors with this free performance. It will also be a fantastic opportunity for young musicians from East London to perform alongside the LSO on this world-renowned stage, as we build a better London for everyone.’

Composer, Joanna Lee said: ‘It is a complete honour to be commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra to compose a piece for LSO Discovery young musicians to perform alongside the LSO. beams.bellows.bounds is inspired by my time working nearby Trafalgar Square, when I would often sit in the Square and observe the dance-like nature of life, from morning to late: from the balletic beams of the still morning sun; to the brash bellows of taxis in cyclical motion and the pounding heartbeat of lines of protesters; and the exuberant bounds of street performers and audiences. The piece embraces the importance of music and musicians, and I am excited to hear its premiere at BMW Classics!

Media Enquiries

Christopher MillardLondon Symphony Orchestra | +44 (0)7545 502226

Notes to Editors

London Symphony Orchestra

The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), established in 1904 is the oldest of London’s symphony orchestras. It made its first British tour in 1905, conducted by Sir Edward Elgar. Today it is ranked among the world’s top orchestras, with a family of artists that includes Chief Conductor Sir Antonio Pappano, Conductor Emeritus Sir Simon Rattle, Principal Guest Conductors Gianandrea Noseda and François-Xavier Roth, Conductor Laureate Michael Tilson Thomas and Associate Artists Barbara Hannigan and André J Thomas. The LSO is Resident Orchestra at the Barbican in the City of London, and reaches international audiences through touring and artistic residencies, and through digital partnerships and an extensive programme of live-streamed and on-demand online broadcasts.

Through a world-leading learning and community programme, LSO Discovery, the LSO connects people from all walks of life to the power of great music. LSO musicians are at the heart of this unique programme, leading workshops, mentoring bright young talent, performing at free concerts for the local community and using music to support neurodiverse adults. LSO musicians also visit children’s hospitals and lead training programmes for teachers. In 1999, the LSO formed its own recording label, LSO Live. It has become one of the world’s most talked-about classical labels and has over 200 recordings in the catalogue so far. The LSO is a leading orchestra for film and uses streaming services to reach a worldwide audience totalling millions every month. Through inspiring music, learning programmes and technological innovations, the LSO’s reach extends far beyond the concert hall.

BMW Group Cultural Engagement

Why Culture? Why not! Culture is knowledge, a sanctuary of beauty and depth, of meaning and peace. An inspiring escape. Tranquil at best, even unsettling sometimes. As corporate citizen, the

BMW Group takes social responsibility seriously, as part of which it has been involved in hundreds of cultural initiatives worldwide for over half a century, both in the arts, music & sound, architecture as well as in design. As a long-term partner, creative freedom is key – and as essential for groundbreaking works as it is for major innovations within a business enterprise like ours.

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The BMW Group

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