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.


In the 2014/15 season our residency at Southbank Centre featured a celebration of Sir Harrison Birtwistle, the London premiere of James Dillon’s new Stabat Mater Dolorosa, a two-part exploration of the advances in sonic manipulation over recent years, and a day of new works written as messages to the next government the weekend after the General Election of 2015. Elsewhere we were part of the Minimalism Unwrapped festival at Kings Place with performances of Terry Riley and Steve Reich, and embarked on two music-theatre collaborations with Royal Opera House and Aldeburgh Festival. Our Blue Touch Paper events – where we light the fuse of new work, with different art forms in alternative spaces – took us to BFI Southbank for a series of sci-fi film premieres then on to White Cube Bermondsey for a partnership with artist Christian Marclay. 

New music

In 2014/15 our London Sinfonietta commissions included additions to a series of duets by Sir Harrison Birtwistle, a string piece by Mica Levi and five solo works by emerging composers set to film by students at Central Saint Martins and premiered at BFI Southbank. Plus there were a range of new concert works and songs timed to coincide with the General Election of 2015 as messages to the new government.

Sinfonietta Shorts also continue to be written, recorded and released regularly as downloads on NMC Recordings..

Take part

Two brand new schools concerts recently inspired pupils and teachers with the music of today. Secondary schools experienced the work of Steve Reich at Kings Place through curriculum set works Electric Counterpoint and New York Counterpoint. Primary schools explored the relationship between music and maths, animated by vibrant live performance and audience participation.

Our annual London Sinfonietta Academy continues into its seventh year from Monday 6 - Sunday 12 July 2015, giving talented young players the chance to train with Principal Players over an intensive week-long course culminating in a public performance.

With the award-winning Touch Press and Queen Mary University of London we are developing a new way of bringing participatory music education to children and adults. An iPhone and iPad app will turn Steve Reich’s Clapping Music into a compelling game and introduce more of his music to a wider audience. The project is one of 12 pioneering partnerships that will share £2million from the last round of the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts, to support research and development in the sector.