LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) makes its highly anticipated return to Australia's iconic Sydney Opera House for a three concert series, under the baton of its Principal Conductor, maestro Valery Gergiev. The Opera House will welcome the LSO as part of the World Orchestras Program which gives Sydney audiences the opportunity to experience the skill and artistry of the greatest ensembles live. With the LSO comes the exceptionally talented pianist Denis Matsuev playing music from the passionate cultural heart of Russia.
Formed in 1904, the London Symphony Orchestra has become an icon in the world of classical music. The roll call of its conductors reads as a who's who of the legendary maestros including Sir Simon Rattle, Andre Previn, Michael Tilson Thomas, and the late great Claudio Abbado and Sir Colin Davis. The places it has appeared, the works it has played, the great artists who have performed with this illustrious ensemble almost tells a history of the twentieth-century in music. Its work in the recording studio and playing on movie soundtracks make it perhaps the most heard orchestra in history. If you've ever seen a
movie, if you know the tune to
The King's Speech,
then you've experienced the magical sound of the London Symphony Orchestra.
But the LSO is more than just a noble tradition; it boasts some of the world's most adventurous musicians. The Orchestra is renowned for having the largest education program of any orchestra in Britain; it is a pioneer in the field of digital music, launching the first
YouTube Symphony Orchestra
in 2008 and being one of the very first Orchestra's to own its own recording label and to have its entire catalogue on iTunes. The LSO has toured to almost every continent in the world; and in 2012 it performed to a live audience of 4 billion across the globe at The Opening Ceremony of the London Olympic Games.
You've almost certainly heard the London Symphony Orchestra in the cinema and on TV, but unless you have heard this ensemble live, in glorious technicolor, you're missing out. It will be an experience you will never forget.
"It felt for all the world as if the music were being emitted directly by the mysterious shimmering of the conductor's fingertips."
The Guardian (UK), 2013
He's been described as 'volatile', 'driven' and 'possessed'. He conducts with a toothpick and a feverish shiver of the hands. He's renowned for taking risks to find unexpected insights into classic works. Valery Gergiev is one of the world's most electrifying musical personalities.
Making a highly-anticipated return to Sydney following his electrifying Opera House debut with the Vienna Philharmonic in 2006, these concerts leading the London Symphony Orchestra will sear themselves onto the memories of audiences; it will be unmissable.
Valery Gergiev was appointed Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra after triumphant performances of the complete Prokofiev symphonies in the composer's 2004 centenary year. It was one of the most talked about conductor appointments in classical music leading to a musical exploration of the Russian repertoire unparalleled in music-making today.
Valery Gergiev has been the Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre (formerly the Kirov) in St Petersburg since 1988. In his 25 years with the Mariinsky he has taken the ballet, opera, and orchestra ensembles to more than 45 countries and championed the construction of a new state-of-the-art concert hall and theatre making it the centre of Russian culture.
Gergiev is founder and artistic director of St Peterburg's famous summer festival, the Stars of the White Nights. He also heads the New Horizons Festival, Moscow Easter Festival, Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival and the Red Sea Classical Music Festival in Eilat, Israel.
Beyond his work on the podium Gergiev is a passionate cultural leader with many positions in the broader music community including Chair of the International Tchaikovsky Competition, Honorary President of the Edinburgh International Festival and Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the St Petersburg State University.
Above all, he is a thrilling musician; one seasoned LSO violinist has described his performances as being like "driving a Formula One car, trying to hold the bend". With Gergiev on the podium, it's a wild ride.
"Absolute powerhouse of a pianist"
Charismatic, flamboyant, with breathtaking technical facility and a big heart, Denis Matsuev is regarded as one of the great pianists of the moment.
Matsuev was born in the Siberian city of Irkutsk on the shores of Lake Baikal, and trained in Moscow. He shot to fame when he won the 11th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, at the age of just 23. That was in 1998, and ever since his star has just kept rising.
Matsuev is in demand as a soloist with the world's most renowned orchestras, from the New York and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras to the London Symphony and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestras, to Japan's NHK Symphony, and the Israel and Helsinki Philharmonics. He also appears regularly with legendary Russian orchestras such as the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Mariinsky and the Russian National Orchestra.
"The Siberian Bear", as he is sometimes known, is also a frequent guest of the world's great concert halls and festivals, giving performances at Carnegie Hall, the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival in Great Britain, the Chopin Festival in Poland and Stars of the White Nights Festival in Russia.
Most recently, he performed at the Closing Ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.
One of Matsuev's favourite musical partners is super-conductor Valery Gergiev. With him, Matsuev has recorded two Shostakovich Concertos and Rachmaninov's Concerto No. 3. Together, the pair is a formidable force, and coupled with the sonically inimitable and expansive London Symphony Orchestra, it will be a truly unique experience.