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The London Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1904 by Adolf Borsdorf, Thomas Busby, John Solomon and Henri van der Meerschen. The orchestra has been based in London, England’s world famous Barbican Centre since 1982 and have been described as “The Perfect Film Orchestra”.
If you have heard a theme in a film that has stuck with you ever since you saw it, chances are that The London Symphony Orchestra played it. They are most famous for their iconic John Williams themes for Star Wars and Raiders Of The Lost Ark but their history goes back far further than that, and their acclaim extends far beyond the silver screen. The London Symphony Orchestra have a reputation for having the most personality of any other orchestra in London and perhaps the world, and a lot of this comes from how they are a truly democratic institution. The orchestra itself chooses who conducts it and that has been the way of the orchestra since its very inception.
From the very beginning, The LSO has been shaking things up, as they were formed after 50 members of the Queen’s Hall Orchestra rebelled against an edict that none of the players in the orchestra could send a deputy to a performance or rehearsal if needed. Thomas Busby, a horn player who had left the Queen’s Hall, conceptualised a new form of orchestra, a “musical republic” in his words where each of the players got an equal cut of each season’s profits. The new orchestra played its first concert on the 4th of June 1904, and was conducted by none other than Hans Richter. They then toured for most of the following year, conducted by another legend in the form of Sir Edward Elgar.
Ever since then, The LSO has been one of the United Kingdom’s premier orchestras, one that has performed all over the world on several acclaimed tours. They are an acclaimed studio orchestra, with Elgar recording his major works for His Master’s Voice in the 20’s and 30’s. Of course, they also have recorded the soundtrack to a shocking number of films from Blithe Spirit to Superman to Street Fighter to The Avengers to The Imitation Game. To this day they are one of the most acclaimed acts in classical music, and for that reason, they come highly recommended.