The London Sinfonietta is one of the world’s elite contemporary music ensembles with a reputation built on the virtuosity of its performances and ambitious programming. It is committed to placing new music at the heart of contemporary culture and pushing boundaries; the ensemble regularly undertakes projects with choreographers, video artists, film-makers and collaborations with electronica artists, jazz and folk musicians.
The creation of new music has been at the core of the London Sinfonietta’s work since its foundation in 1968 by Nicholas Snowman and David Atherton. It has commissioned or premiered over 250 works, ranging from Luciano Berio, Harrison Birtwistle and Steve Reich to the emerging composers involved in its Blue Touch Paper project. World and UK premieres given during the Music Programme 2011-2012 include, among others, Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s In Broken Images, Dai Fujikura’s Double Bass Concerto, Charlie Piper’s Insomniac and Wolfgang Rihm’s Will Sound More Again.
The London Sinfonietta is a Resident Orchestra of Southbank Centre in London, with its headquarters at Kings Place in north London. It continues to take the best contemporary music to venues and festivals throughout the UK and worldwide with a busy touring schedule; in 2011 the ensemble visited cities in many countries including Mexico, Vienna, Bratislava, Greece and Italy.
The London Sinfonietta also supports the development of young musicians. The London Sinfonietta Academy entered its fourth year in 2012, giving the opportunity for the UK’s finest young musicians, conductors and composers to come together to further their performance experience and training in an intensive week-long course. A growing number of London Sinfonietta Academy Alumni maintain their relationship with the London Sinfonietta as players in the ensemble’s Music Programme. Its pioneering participation work includes Blue Touch Paper, an innovative programme which nurtures and promotes the next generation of inventive partnerships across a variety of disciplines. The Writing the Future scheme also continues to flourish, enabling composers to work closely with London Sinfonietta musicians as they make new music.
A distinguished discography includes seminal recordings of many 20th-century classics on numerous prestigious labels as well as the ensemble's own London Sinfonietta Label. These CDs include the Jerwood Series featuring young British-based composers and a critically acclaimed live recording of Tōru Takemitsu’s Arc and Green. During Autumn 2011, the London Sinfonietta released Jonathan Harvey's Bird Concerto with Pianosong and Louis Andriessen's Anaïs Nin, marking new recording partnerships with NMC Recordings and Signum Records.