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What’s On
Alice Sara Ott playing the piano on the Barbican stage

Questioning Everything – Strauss, Liszt and Kendall

Rousing. Urgent. Lyrical.

Thursday 5 October 2023 • 7pm

This event has passed.

The Concert

Hannah Kendall O flower of fire (world premiere)
Franz Liszt Totentanz
Interval – 20 minutes
Richard Strauss Also sprach Zarathustra

Sir Antonio Pappano  conductor
Alice Sara Ott  piano
London Symphony Orchestra

The concert will finish at approximately 9pm


£70 £55 £39 £25 £18
+ £4 booking fee per online/phone transaction

Wildcard Tickets

£12/£16 + booking fee as above
Guaranteed entry – your seat will be allocated on the day.
Limited releases throughout the season. Full details

Check for Wildcards

Save on Your Booking

Multibuy Discounts – save up to 40%
Under-18s – £6 tickets
14–25s – discounts for Young Barbican Members
Groups of 10+ – save at least 20%
Access – free companion tickets for Barbican Access Members
Full details below


An allocation of tickets is available for NHS staff for selected LSO concerts through Tickets for Good. Visit to register.

Pop culture’s most famous fanfare sets the mood – this is music that tells you: wake up!

The Programme

A blast of trumpets, a pounding of timpani: the opening of Richard Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra heralds the rise of the sun. Stanley Kubrick used it to grab viewers’ attention in his film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

But for Strauss, this is the dawn of an age full of questions: what does it mean to be alive? Joining the debate, Liszt’s Totentanz is a ferocious vision of mortality, complete with ghoulish jangling bones. And there’s a new work by Hannah Kendall, a composer whose music, in Pappano’s own words, ‘has an amazing ability to really grip the listener’.

The Performers

In his first concert as Chief Conductor Designate of the LSO, Sir Antonio Pappano brings emotional depth to the music’s thrills and chills. Alice Sara Ott masters the breakneck glissandos of Liszt’s showpiece music for piano.

Hannah Kendall’s music has an amazing ability to really grip the listener, to draw the listener in. It’s percussive, it’s lyrical, it’s very atmospheric, with the use of really beautiful chords, and an amazing use of silence, which makes you really want to listen to her music.

– Sir Antonio Pappano

Read the concert programme

Commission for O flower of fire generously supported by The Boltini Trust

Recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3

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Filmed for broadcast by Marquee TV

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Header Image © Mark Allan

£10 Tickets for Students

Full-time students can book £10 tickets for this concert through Student Pulse London.

Find out more

Dive Deeper

Sir Antonio Pappano, LSO Chief Conductor Designate, introduces this concert and Alice Sara Ott performs a short clip of Franz Liszt’s Totentanz.

Booking and Discounts

Booking Your Tickets

Online at or
By phone on +44 20 7870 2500 (Monday to Friday 12–5.30pm)
In person at the Barbican Centre

£4 booking fee per transaction when booking online or by phone

Refunds and Exchanges

If you can no longer user your tickets, you can exchange them for another LSO concert or Barbican credit voucher (valid for six months). Please inform the Box Office at least 24 hours before the performance (two weeks for group bookings). A per-ticket administration fee applies for all exchange services.

Questions About Your Booking?

Contact the Barbican Box Office at

Visit the Barbican website for conditions of sale.

The LSO reserves the right to change artists or programmes if necessary. If the event is cancelled, all bookers will receive a refund. All discounts are subject to availability and may not be combined. Box office calls may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance or training purposes.

Multibuy Discounts

Book 2 to 3 concerts and save 10%
Book 4 to 7 concerts and save 20%
Book 8 to 11 concerts and save 30%
Book 12 or more concerts and save 40%

Plus retain your discount for any later bookings within the season.

Multibuy Discounts: Full Details


£12 or £16 (£10 or £15 for Half Six Fix concerts), plus booking fee. You are guaranteed entry to the concert but you won’t know your exact seat until the evening of the performance. Will you be lucky and bag a top-price seat in the stalls? Find out more about Wildcards.

Young People

£6 tickets for under-18s. Discounted tickets are available for selected LSO concerts for 14–25s through Young Barbican, and for full-time students through Student Pulse London.

Groups of 10+

Save 20%, or 30% when booking two or more concerts in the same season, plus additional benefits. Find out more about group booking.

Access Members

Members of the Barbican’s Access Scheme can book wheelchair places priced at the lowest price for that event and book a free companion seat. Join the Barbican Access Scheme.

Your Visit and Access

Concerts with Pappano in 2023/24