London Symphony Orchestra and BMW announce major new partnership

The London Symphony Orchestra and BMW announce today a new long-term partnership, BMW LSO OPEN AIR CLASSICS which will bring outstanding music performed in the open air – free for everyone in an informal atmosphere. The first in a groundbreaking series of annual concerts will be conducted in Trafalgar Square by Principal Conductor of the LSO, Valery Gergiev, on Saturday 12 May at 6.30 pm. Large screens will be mounted on either side of the stage to allow the audience to witness the concert close up.

The programme will feature works by Igor Stravinsky including the highly popular “Firebird Suite” and “The Rite of Spring”. 100 young musicians from LSO Discovery, the Orchestra’s award-winning music education and community programme, will play alongside the LSO players and perform “The Lite of Spring”, an interpretation of Stravinsky’s work by Gareth Glyn. LSO animateur Paul Rissman will present the concert and guide the audience through the repertoire.

Valery Gergiev celebrates this new project:

“I congratulate the LSO and BMW on this initiative. I believe it is so important to take music beyond the concert hall.  I hope that performing these great pieces in such an impressive outdoor space will encourage many new people to experience the very special sound and experience of a truly great orchestra.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

“This fantastic partnership will give Londoners the chance to enjoy the delight of a live orchestra for free, as well as help promote our city’s vibrant and diverse music scene to new audiences. The LSO concert is just one example of a series of feel-good, outdoor events taking place in the run up to the Olympics, creating a summer like no other.”

Dr. Ian Robertson (HonDSc), Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG:

“We are very proud of this new cooperation between the London Symphony Orchestra and BMW. With such an outstanding orchestra, we look forward to thrilling and passionate live concerts. Our thanks to the LSO’s innovative Managing Director Kathryn McDowell and the charismatic Principal Conductor Valery Gergiev for their enthusiasm and commitment in bringing this partnership to life. The free to the public “BMW LSO Open Air Classics” concert series on Trafalgar Square is the first international location of similar partnerships in Munich and Berlin. For BMW Group’s international cultural engagement, this cooperation is an important milestone towards the future of corporate citizenship. This is the start of a long-term partnership between the LSO and BMW — a partnership which we hope will be enjoyed by Londoners for years to come.”

Kathryn McDowell, Managing Director of the LSO, stated:

“The LSO is delighted to have found such an original and creative partner in BMW to bring outstanding music to everyone in London for free! We hope that this open air concert will appeal to first time concert goers as well as classical music enthusiasts. Trafalgar Square is an iconic London location and represents the perfect venue to launch this initiative.”

London Symphony Orchestra

In addition to its season at the Barbican, its London home, the LSO has annual residencies at New York’s Lincoln Center, Paris’ Salle Pleyel and the Aix-en-Provence Festival. The LSO also tours extensively throughout Europe, and Japan and has recently visited India, China and the Middle East. The LSO is set apart from other international orchestras by its depth of commitment to music education, reaching over 60,000 people each year. The award-winning programme, LSO Discovery works locally, nationally and internationally, with thriving community projects both in London and the UK and abroad. LSO Live is the Orchestra’s record label and has released over 80 recordings with many of the world’s leading conductors including Valery Gergiev, Sir Colin Davis, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons and André Previn. The LSO was the first symphony orchestra ever to record a film soundtrack, with Sir Arthur Bliss’s score for Things to Come in 1935. It has since built up a reputation as the world’s pre-eminent film orchestra and has recorded landmark soundtracks such as Henry V (William Walton, 1944), and Star Wars (John Williams, 1977). Recent film scores include The King’s Speech, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows and The Ides of March.

Valery Gergiev: LSO Principal Conductor

Valery Gergiev is one of the world’s most electrifying and charismatic musical personalities and his thrilling performances are much anticipated. Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra since January 2007, Valery Gergiev performs regularly with the LSO at the Barbican, at the Proms and at the Edinburgh Festival, as well as on regular tours of Europe, North America and Asia. His inspired leadership of the Mariinsky Theatre since 1988 has taken the Mariinsky ensembles to 45 countries and has brought universal acclaim to this legendary institution, now in its 227th season. Valery Gergiev’s many awards include Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun, a Grammy, the Dmitri Shostakovich Award, the Golden Mask Award, People’s Artist of Russia Award, the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award, Sweden’s Polar Music Prize, Netherlands’ Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion, Valencia’s Silver Medal, the Herbert von Karajan prize and the French Order of the Legion of Honour.

About BMW’s Cultural Commitment

For more than 40 years now, the BMW Group has initiated and engaged in over 100 cultural cooperations worldwide. The company places the main focus of its long-term commitment on modern and contemporary art, jazz and classical music as well as architecture and design. In 1972, three large-scale paintings were created by the artist Gerhard Richter specifically for the foyer of the BMW Group’s Munich headquarters. Since then, artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Olafur Eliasson, Jeff Koons, Zubin Metha, Daniel Barenboim and Anna Netrebko have co-operated with BMW. The company has also commissioned architects such as Karl Schwanzer, Zaha Hadid and Coop Himmelb(l)au to design important corporate buildings. In 2011, the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a global initiative of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the Guggenheim Museum and the BMW Group celebrated its world premiere in New York. The BMW Group takes absolute creative freedom in all the cultural activities it is involved in for granted – as this is just as essential for groundbreaking artistic work as it is for major innovations in a successful business.


Chris "MUG5" Maguire is a multimedia futurist that specializes in all things multimedia. From Record Production to Film Making Chris has worked with hi-end clients the world over. Chris is the Editor in Chief of both &