The Christmas Course and January concert are always exciting times as a new orchestra meets and performs for the first time, reuniting members from the previous year (or in some cases years) while welcoming many new faces to the wonderful musical experience that the LSSO brings to London’s talented young orchestral players.
Dominic Wheeler, Head of Opera at the Guildhall School, returned to conduct the orchestra with the concert featuring the final ‘instalment’ of the LSSO’s 70th birthday celebrations that were so disrupted by the COVID pandemic. It also marked another significant anniversary, that of Rachmaninov’s birth 150 years ago, with the inclusion of his Symphony No 3. Sibelius’s epic tone poem En Saga completed the programme.
Danyal Dhondy and Joshua Borin, both former members of the LSSO, were commissioned by the orchestra to write All We Shadows and At Every Turn for a concert that should have taken place in 2021, with Shakespeare’s character Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream representing the spirit and energy of youth. Each of the soloists were also former members of the orchestra and students at the CYM Saturday Centre - Amy Roberts on oboe and Lucas Robson on cello.
Also involved in preparations for the concert was Bradley Wilson, who was welcomed to the new role of Assistant Conductor for the 2023 season. This is a joint initiative between Guildhall Young Artists and Black Lives in Music, which will be open annually to young conductors from all less well-represented groups in the sector.
The LSSO will look forward to working with Christopher Warren-Greene in April (another LSSO/CYM alumnus, now Chair of the Foundation for Young Musicians) and with Matthew Lynch in the summer.