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. Founded in 1968, the ensemble's commitment to new music has seen it commission over 350 works, and premiere many hundreds more.

Resident at Southbank Centre and Artistic Associates at Kings Place, with a busy touring schedule across the UK and abroad, its core is 18 Principal Players, representing some of the best solo and ensemble musicians in the world. The group also works with talented Emerging Artists, to ensure the unique expertise of its Principals is passed on to the next generation of performers. 

Having held a world-leading position in education and participation work for many years, the London Sinfonietta continues this with a belief that arts participation is transformational to individuals and communities, and new music is relevant to people’s lives.

The ensemble has an extensive back catalogue of recordings made over 47 years, which have been released on numerous prestigious labels as well as its own London Sinfonietta Label. Most recently, a disc of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s music was released on NMC Recordings and topped the classical music chart, while eleven vinyl records were made in collaboration with artist Christian Marclay. 

The London Sinfonietta has also broken new ground by creating Steve Reich’s Clapping Music app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, a participatory rhythm game that has been downloaded over 110,000 times worldwide since its launch in late 2015.

2016/17 Events

The 21st century is now 16 years old and has produced some astounding music: works of beauty, complexity and drama that deserve to be listened to, not just heard. The London Sinfonietta presents a season of opportunities, performing commissions and premieres that speak for the best musical invention of our time. Blue Touch Paper events showcase our experiments with music and other art forms, whilst Mix nights combine different musical genres.

To understand the present we also need to reference the past; our new series at Kings Place – Turning Points – is a chance to hear, interact with and question the ideas of 20th century composers who have influenced the music being made today.

New Music

Highlights of the 2016/17 season include commissioning a new work by Morgan Hayes and piccolo concerto from Simon Holt, as well as world and UK premieres of music by Salvatore Sciarrino, Daniela Tarranova, Beat Furrer and Rolf Wallin.

We also continue our partnership with arts development agency the hub on Make, Do and Bend – a series of R&D days bringing together artists and technologists, and work with Animate on an animated film version of George Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill.

Forthcoming recordings include a collaboration with virtuoso Norwegian saxophonist Marius Neset released in autumn 2016 and a digital album with NMC Recordings released on Friday 21 October 2016, compiling all the Sinfonietta Shorts created to-date.

Take Part

Working closely with a cluster of partner schools through 2016/17, we’ll train teachers and their students in composition. In London and across the UK our Concerts for Primary Schools also introduce composers from Anton Webern to Anna Meredith, whilst we delve further into compositional methods with Concerts for Secondary Schools by examining minimalism, serialism and how composers make music today – often starting with a very simple creative idea.

The annual London Sinfonietta continues into its ninth year, giving talented young players the chance to train with Principal Players over an intensive week-long course, and we run more workshops with high scorers on Steve Reich’s Clapping Music app.