BMW Classics

A free open-air concert in the heart of London

Saturday 11 June 2022 5pm BST

On Saturday 11 June 2022, a giant temporary stage will once again host Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra for a free concert for an audience of thousands in one of the world’s most iconic public spaces, Trafalgar Square, and to thousands more watching the live stream on YouTube.

The 2022 BMW Classics concert programme opens with George Gershwin’s evocative sunny Cuban Overture. For the central section of the concert, in contrasting mood, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason marks his debut live performance with the Orchestra, playing two sublime masterpieces for cello and orchestra, Bruch’s Kol Nidrei and Bloch’s Prayer from Jewish Life.

This is followed by the world premiere of FAIYA! a specially commissioned work by Ayanna Witter-Johnson. This dance inspired piece written for a mixed-ability orchestra brings together LSO musicians with 55 young musicians from east London as part of the LSO On Track partnership, and 18 students from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. For the final work the upbeat tempo returns with a second Gershwin classic, An American in Paris.

George Gershwin Cuban Overture
Max Bruch Kol Nidrei *
Ernest Bloch Prayer from Jewish Life *
Ayanna Witter-Johnson FAIYA! (world premiere) +
George Gershwin An American in Paris

Sir Simon Rattle conductor
Sheku Kanneh-Mason cello *
LSO On Track Musicians +
London Symphony Orchestra

Entry to the concert is free, but you are advised to arrive early to get a place as this is usually a very popular concert! 


Live stream and on demand

Watch the concert live on our YouTube channel, also available on demand for a limited time.


Photos of the 2021 BMW Classics concert

The audience in Trafalgar Square

The audience in front of the National Gallery

 

The BMW Classics stage in Trafalgar Square

The BMW Classics stage at the foot of Nelson's Column

Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Chris brownridge, Sadiq Khan, Kathryn McDowell making their speeches

Composer Ayanna Witter-Johnson, BMW CEO Chris Brownridge, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and LSO Managing Director Kathryn McDowell

 

Ayanna Witter-Johnson and Leia Zhu backstage

Composer Ayanna Witter-Johnson and violinist Leia Zhu backstage

Leia Zhu and Sir Simon Rattle on stage

Leia Zhu performs Saint-Saëns' Introduction and Rondo capriccioso with Sir Simon Rattle

 

Sir Simon Rattle conducts the LSO East London Academy

Sir Simon Rattle conducting the LSO East London Academy

Sir Simon Rattle conducts the LSO in Trafalgar Square

Sir Simon Rattle conducting the LSO as dusk falls in the Square

 

Sir Simon Rattle leads the cheers at the end of the concert

Sir Simon Rattle leads the cheers at the end of the concert 

Photos by Mark Allan

   

Video

The ending of Saint-Saëns' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, performed by Leia Zhu at the 2021 BMW Classics.

  

LSO, BMW & YouTube logos

 

Event FAQs

Getting in and out

Entry and exit to Trafalgar Square is via the Upper Terrace in front of The National Gallery at either end, and via the south east corner towards the entry for Charing Cross Tube station. The south west corner towards the Mall is for exit only. Entrances will open from 3.45pm. 

If you have drinks in glass bottles with you, you will be asked to decant these into biodegradable plastic jugs provided at the entrance points.

What if it's full?

The lower part of the square will be filled up first; the upper terrace will have a very limited view of the stage.

We advise that you should arrive early to secure a place. Entrances will open from 3.45pm. Should the square fill completely, we will need to close the entrance barriers and it’s unlikely any further entry will be granted.

Please be aware that if you leave the Square and it fills up while you are out, you will not be able to get back in.

Accessibility

We have implemented the following measures to make the event as accessible and inclusive as possible for a wide range of audience members:

  • A step-free level access area in the centre of the Upper Terrace with wheelchair spaces, companion seats, and seats for those who may have other access requirements. The best entry points for this area are either side of The National Gallery.
  • You may find it easiest to enter the square via the north west corner, which is normally slightly less busy.
  • The area also has a hearing loop.
  • Large print programmes are available.
  • There is a portable accessible toilet near this area in addition to the accessible toilet within the permanent toilet block on lower part of the Square.
  • Assistance dogs are welcome.

Not comfortable?

Furniture is not allowed in the Square. Cushions are available to hire from carts at just £2.50 each. Toilets are located on the lower terrace towards the back.

Can we bring a picnic?

You are welcome to bring food and drink in, although please do not bring glass for safety reasons. If you have drinks in glass bottles with you, you will be asked to decant these into biodegradable plastic jugs provided at the entrance points.

There are no refreshment facilites within the Square. Please be aware that if you leave the Square and it fills up while you are out, you will not be able to get back in.

Please don't bring furniture with you, but rugs for the floor are fine. 

What if it rains?

We’ll play on for as long as we can, but if the rain gets too heavy we’ll have to stop. There will be messages on the big screens and announcements made, so sit tight and we’ll keep you posted. We have biodegradable plastic ponchos in case you didn't bring a coat!

What time will it finish?

About 6.30pm. We will update this as we get closer to the concert.

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