About London Sinfonietta

The London Sinfonietta’s mission is to place the best contemporary classical music at the heart of today’s culture; engaging and challenging the public through inspiring performances of the highest standard, and taking risks to develop new work and talent.

The ensemble is Resident Orchestra at Southbank Centre with headquarters at Kings Place, and continues to take the best contemporary music to venues and festivals across the UK and worldwide with a busy touring schedule. Since its inaugural concert in 1968 – giving the world premiere of Sir John Tavener’s The Whale – the London Sinfonietta’s commitment to making new music has seen it commission over 300 works, and premiere many hundreds more.

The core of the London Sinfonietta is 18 Principal Players, representing some of the best solo and ensemble musicians in the world. The ensemble has just launched its Emerging Artists Programme, which will give professional musicians at the start of promising and brilliant careers the opportunity to work alongside those Principal Players on stage across the season.

The London Sinfonietta’s recordings present a catalogue of 20th-century classics, on numerous prestigious labels as well as the ensemble's own London Sinfonietta Label. Most recently, Philip Cashian’s Piano Concerto and a series of Sinfonietta Shorts downloads were released on NMC Recordings, and a CD of music by Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen on Dacapo.


In autumn, our events at Southbank Centre were important closing chapters in their year-long The Rest Is Noise festival, bringing the story of 20th-century music from post-war to the present day. This spring we forge ahead into music of the 21st, focusing on commissions and premieres from Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Simon Steen-Andersen and Michel van der Aa that have grown out of close relationships forged with partners in Denmark and Holland.

New music

We have commissioned over 20 pieces of new music for the 2013/14 season. Nine form part of our Writing the Future scheme, which pairs emerging composers with Principal Players to develop new chamber compositions, and were premiered at The New Music Show in December 2013. The Sinfonietta Shorts series has been released as digital downloads by NMC Recordings and will continue to see new works released through 2014.

This year we also expand the Blue Touch Paper programme, in order to further experiment with interdisciplinary art. In May 2014 we’ll explore the results at our annual new work night, this year taking place at The Institute of Contemporary Arts.

Take part

This season there are concerts for schools to inspire pupils and teachers with the music of today, and original public performances by teenagers from Kings Cross as part of the KX Collective.

The London Sinfonietta Academy continues into its sixth year, and at the start of summer 2014 the UK’s most talented young players will have the chance to learn side-by-side with our Principal Players at an intensive week-long course, culminating in a public performance. This is the foremost route into the new Emerging Artists Programme. Then there are open calls to the public (that’s you!) to take part across the season in person and online, culminating in a mass participation event at Southbank Centre in June 2014.