The past 16 years have produced some astounding music: works of beauty, complexity and drama that deserve to be listened to, not just heard. So here’s a season of opportunities to truly listen to the sound of the 21st century. We perform commissions, premieres and collaborations that represent some of the best musical inventions of our time.

You can view our season brochure here, or take a look at three reasons why you should come to each of our events:



The London Sinfonietta Emerging Artist Programme is a unique opportunity for the next generation of exceptional musicians to get involved in the working life of the world’s leading new music ensemble.

Generously supported by the Mercers’ Company and the Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, the scheme constitutes a series of professional experiences performing contemporary classical music: including a guarantee of two on-stage engagements as part of the London Sinfonietta’s season and working alongside the ensemble’s Principal Players.

Josh BattyOver the next few months, we’ll be talking to our Emerging Artists, to find out a little more about them and their experiences as part of the programme. First up is flautist Joshua Batty:

What do you regard as your greatest artistic achievement so far?
Being fortunate to meet, work and learn from such diverse people across the world and getting to travel to places I might have never got the chance to see all the while doing a job that I enjoy (mostly!)

Which piece of music or theatre has had the biggest effect on you as a musician?
I played Debussy’s Syrinx at a family funeral a couple of years ago; the piece has had quite a profound effect on me ever since. Also performing Gorecki’s Symphony No.3 in Katowice with the London Sinfonietta just 40 miles from Auschwitz and seeing the haunting and historic effect the music had on the audience – their appreciation was immense. 

What’s the most unusual performance you’ve been a part of?
Performing with the comedy duo Igudesman and Joo and having to run off the stage “crying” during a parody of Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto!

What’s currently on your coffee table at home?
My feet, a box of matches, orchestral music, and a thin layer of dust!

Describe yourself in three words.
Determined, Boisterous, Self-critical.

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
In another life, I would like to be a translator and interpreter. 

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My family and in particular my grandparents. They have all been so supportive and taken total interest in anything I’ve decided to pursue. 

What has been your most valuable experience during your time with London Sinfonietta on the Emerging Artist Programme?
Working with such experienced musicians on new contemporary music and seeing their attention to detail and level of commitment and concentration during the rehearsals and performances. 

What advice would you give to musicians starting their careers now?
Be yourself, support others and go for everything you can; if something doesn’t go your way, move on to the next experience and learn from it all.

Tell us your best musical joke.
So many apologies:
Q: Why was the former conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic always the first off the plane?
A: Because he only had Karajan luggage.


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The London Sinfonietta Academy is an unparalleled opportunity for emerging performers and conductors to train with the world’s leading contemporary music ensemble. It is an intensive week-long course of rehearsals, masterclasses and networking opportunities culminating in a public performance. This course provides experience and training in performing as part of a contemporary music ensemble, with coaching from the London Sinfonietta Principal Players.


We asked 2016 Academy participants, led by conductor Diego Masson, to tell us about their experience:

Kizzy Brooks – Percussionist

“The culmination of the London Sinfonietta Academy was an epic two and a half hour long concert, which saw Diego Masson nearly miss his Eurostar! The concert itself was brilliant, with all the hard work and concentration of the week being fully showcased and received by a packed audience hanging on every note.

With so much repertoire to explore the week absolutely flew by and I don’t think I have ever felt so challenged and exhilarated at the same. For me, it was brilliant to get to know all the other players, with our musical and personal relationships growing as a whole group.

This was really highlighted in our second rehearsal with Ben Oliver, where he said “Wow, this is sounding so much better, have you guys had a sectional on this? Or have you just spent a bit more time together?” It’s amazing what a few evenings in the pub can do for ensemble playing! Ben’s piece itself was fantastic, both to play and to listen to. I felt that it was a perfect commission for our ensemble, with the music conveying our youthful spirit but also showcasing every members’ technical ability and musicality.

It addition to our own rehearsals it was fantastic to watch the conductors’ masterclass on Tuesday, which was focused on Pierre Boulez’s Éclat. This class gave us the chance to watch the London Sinfonietta in action and also to observe Diego nurturing the talent of the young conductors.

The whole week was absolutely brilliant (and exhausting) and I would wholly recommend that anybody that is interested in the future of music should apply next year! I would like to say a huge thank you to the London Sinfonietta for such a fantastic opportunity and to Ed (Participation and Learning Manager) and Hal (Concert manager) for making the whole week run so smoothly!”

Liga Korne – Pianist

“It is Sunday and I am on my way home for a summer break, which means that the London Sinfonietta Academy 2016 has reached its conclusion. People often say this; but this week-long course really did fly by very, very quickly. So, if I were to describe this whole experience in a couple of words, the first that come to mind are – intense and inspiring.

During this project we worked on a highly complex and varied programme by composers whose names are in the very forefront of the contemporary music scene, testing players’ technical and musical abilities. I truly believe that as individuals we only keep developing by setting ourselves various challenges and this course certainly created the circumstances to do exactly that. Moreover, the London Sinfonietta Academy presented the invaluable opportunity to experience an encouraging environment, in which to receive thoughtful guidance. We were able to gain practical knowledge to help overcome numerous musical and technical, individual and collective challenges; creating a refined and exciting final performance.

Here is how this past week looks in numbers:

  • 26 rehearsals (sectionals + tutti)
  • 24 students
  • 15 principal players to coach us
  • 7 days
  • 6 pieces
  • 2 conductors
  • 2 conductors masterclasses
  • 1 concert

    + countless cups of coffee and tea to wake us up in time and keep us going!

But there is also so much that is impossible to put in numbers. I can’t measure the knowledge gained, friendships formed, fun had and the sense of accomplishment felt. While each of the seven days was quite different, all were exciting in their own way and I am absolutely certain that each of us left the course having learnt something new about ourselves and/or music-making. I feel very thankful and privileged for being part of this prestigious project this year!”

Mateuz Rettner – Pianist

“The London Sinfonietta Academy is an amazing programme. This year it took place from the Sunday 10 – Sunday 17 July. It was a very intense and stimulating course in which we prepared six works of a total duration of ca. 90 minutes for our final performance. Every piece contained challenges unique to the style of the particular composer. The diversity of the programme was immense and ranged from Anton Webern’s Variations op. 30 to a new piece entitled Beasts Bounding Through Time (a London Sinfonietta commission) by Benjamin Oliver which we had the pleasure and privilege of premiering. The great organisation of the whole programme and the inspiring professionalism and dedication of everyone involved (the staff as well as the participants) was the driving force of our work, which led to the Saturday performance.

What brought me the most joy and satisfaction was the great working environment. As participants, we received constant support and feedback from both the Principal Players specialising in our respective instruments and those who didn’t. This on top of Diego Masson’s marvellous conducting and rehearsing had great effects. I also had the honour of of joining some of the Principal Players for a performance of Pierre Boulez’s Eclat in the conducting masterclass. This was a truly unique experience, which gave me a greater glimpse into the work of a professional top-level ensemble than is normally possible while merely watching a rehearsal.

Overall my participation in the Academy has already positively influenced my approach to music in many ways and I am certain that I will benefit from it for years to come.”


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It’s already the fourth day of our London Sinfonietta Academy – an intensive week of workshops, masterclasses and rehearsals with brilliant young musicians, coached by our London Sinfonietta Principal Players.

At the end of the week the participants present the fruits of their labours: a captivating performance of the best contemporary music led by internationally renowned conductor Thierry Fischer. Book your free ticket here.

Participant and Harpist Elizabeth Bass shares her experience:

By the fourth day of the Academy, many aspects of the course have settled down. We as players are much more comfortable with each other on both a personal and musical basis, we are more inside our parts and each piece as a whole and we are getting to know what our conductors, Diego Masson and Benjamin Oliver – for his piece Beasts Bounding Through Time – are really looking for. Today the rehearsals began with John Adams’ Chamber Symphony which I am not in, so I had the chance to really hear and see how the ensemble has progressed over the past four days. Not only was I struck by the precision of the ensemble playing, but I was also instantly aware of the conviction and energy of each player – something which has blossomed in just a few short days and has been nurtured by the expertise of the London Sinfonietta Players. The players have been incredibly helpful across both the technical and practical aspects of performing and working with contemporary music, and their guidance will undoubtedly stay with us throughout our careers. Equally inspiring is Diego’s ability to step in at such short notice and tackle these incredibly intricate and demanding scores – some unknown to him beforehand – and to rehearse them with such flare and personality.

LSAThe next rehearsal of the day was the Webern – a piece which is most definitely ‘more than meets the eye’! Most of our parts look very simple at first glance but the piece is a real test of musicianship. The tempi changes are incredibly difficult to master and the piece demands great attention to detail when it comes to colour, articulation and phrasing. Every note is very important and also feels very exposed! The work also exemplifies the relevance of all of the skills learnt during the London Sinfonietta Academy course; the complexity of the score in terms of tempi, time signature and orchestration mean that we need to be incredibly responsive to the conductor. Due to the size of the ensemble, the confidence and depth of expression required for each part demands us all to be both chamber musicians and soloists too.
We had our final rehearsal of Beasts Bounding Through Time this afternoon with Benjamin Oliver himself, before our last top and tail on Saturday. It is very clear that all of us are very much enjoying both playing and listening to this work. It has many many layers of material but somehow nothing is ever lost, with each line complimenting one another, even when they are incredibly contrasting and are clearly influenced by hugely contrasting styles of music. The piece is exciting and funky yet very atmospheric and still at times. Working on this piece with Benjamin is certainly pushing us all to be as adaptable and diverse as possible, and to always use our imaginations when it comes to the style and character of each sections.

I am very eager to get underway with our final day of rehearsals tomorrow, especially as we are yet to rehearse the Boulez all together… we are certainly kept on our toes here! But I am particularly eager and excited to perform with such a skilled and lovely bunch of people on Saturday. I am feeling very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with such immensely capable and experienced musicians as the London Sinfonietta players, and also to have worked on such fantastic and demanding repertoire with other keen musicians my age. I have loved every minute of it!


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We’re in the middle of this year’s London Sinfonietta Academy – an intensive week of workshops, masterclasses and rehearsals with brilliant young musicians, coached by our London Sinfonietta Principal Players.

At the end of the week the participants present the fruits of their labours: a captivating performance of the best contemporary music led by internationally renowned conductor Thierry Fischer. Book your free ticket here.

Participant and Flautist Angus Lee gives us the lowdown on day three:

‘Many of us are saddened by the absence of Thierry Fischer, who was unfortunately taken ill on Day 2 and announced that he must regrettably cancel his engagement with this summer’s London Sinfonietta Academy. To the surprise of the many of us, the Academy management team has already secured a replacement – the French conductor and composer Diego Masson.

CAM00244[1]A protégé of Pierre Boulez while working as a percussionist at the ensemble Domaine Musical, Diego Masson brings with him a lifetime of experience to the Academy and has proven himself this morning to be a real master. Having accepted the invitation to replace Thierry Fischer at such short notice, Maestro Masson only received the scores of the pieces late yesterday evening, and yet his tutti rehearsals today in John Adams’ Chamber Symphony and Tristan Murail’s Le Lac are immaculate and inspiring on equal terms. Despite the Maestro turning 81 this year, these sessions are surprisingly energetic and humorous.

FIMG_3052or the second half of our afternoon session we moved on to sectional rehearsals, working from where Diego left off and perfecting intricate details of each piece. Led by London Sinfonietta principal bassoonist John Orford, we ploughed through some of the most treacherous and gruesome passages of Le Lac, a piece that combines rapid microtonal inflections with unconventional rhythmic proportions and configurations. Under John’s guidance, as well as other players from London Sinfonietta including saxophonist Simon Haram, we slowly but steadily worked towards perfecting even the most difficult sections of this virtuosic piece.

We have had to rework our schedule, so as of today we have yet to have a full rehearsal of Boulez’s Éclat – arguably the most challenging piece on the programme. Nevertheless, I very much look forward to rehearsing and working on the piece with Diego in the coming two days, and with courage and audacity, we can certainly have the piece ready.’


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This week our eighth London Sinfonietta Academy is taking place at Central Saint Martins – an intensive course of workshops, masterclasses and rehearsals with brilliant young musicians, coached by our London Sinfonietta Principal Players.

At the end of the week the participants present the fruits of their labours: a captivating performance of the best contemporary music led by internationally renowned conductor Thierry Fischer. Book your free ticket here.

Participant and Oboist Roxana Seddon shares her diary of day two:

“I have just finished another day of the London Sinfonietta Academy and it is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. The repertoire we are learning, whilst challenging, is very exciting to play. Many aspects of my playing have significantly improved, which is the greatest benefit of the course. We are also fortunate enough to have been coached by professional players such as John Constable and Simon Haram who have taken sectional sessions.

ToBenjaminOliver_Photo_Credit Markus Kinchday, Benjamin Oliver, the composer of one of the pieces we are playing, came in today to conduct our tutti session. The piece is called Beasts Bounding Through Time. It is a privilege to be playing this new, energetic work, under the direction of the composer himself.

He was great fun to work with, communicated with us clearly and was very positive about our playing and the work we had put in. Firstly, we ran through the piece which gave Benjamin an insight into any changes he wanted to make. I was thrilled to be a part of this process. From then on, we slowly and thoroughly worked on each section of the piece.

It was very satisfying to hear all of the work we’ve been playing in our sectionals come together as an ensemble. We very much look forward to performing it on Saturday.”


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This week it’s our eighth London Sinfonietta Academy – an intensive week of workshops, masterclasses and rehearsals with brilliant young musicians, coached by our London Sinfonietta Principal Players.

At the end of the week the students present the fruits of their labour: a captivating performance of the best contemporary music led by internationally renowned conductor Thierry Fischer. Book your free ticket here.

Participant and Bassoonist Stanley Kaye-Smith shares his experience of day one on the course:

“I have just finished rehearsals for day one of the London Sinfonietta Academy 2016, and I am already having lots of fun making music with the other students and London Sinfonietta players. As each section of the ensemble forms together for the progressing rehearsals, everyone’s playing and musicianship is proving to be fantastic. The repertoire this year is adventurous, varied and challenging, including works by the american minimalist-inspired John Adams, Mark-Anthony Turnage, the iconic Pierre Boulez (who sadly passed away earlier this year) and spectralist pioneer Tristan Murail.

Sadly Maestro Thierry Fischer was taken ill last night, otherwise we would have very much been looking forward to meeting him today for the first time in our first tutti rehearsals. Looking forward to meeting Diego Masson who will now be our conductor for Saturday. Meanwhile the schedule for today changed and we took a first glance at On All Fours by Mark-Anthony Turnage and then proceeded to a detailed rehearsal on the Adams Chamber Symphony, which we also did in the first tutti rehearsal of the course after lunch.

Me and co-Bassoonist Angharad IMG_2757were pleased to have the London Sinfonietta’s principal Bassoonist John Orford conducting this rehearsal, who of course after years of experience playing that Bassoon part, is going to stick up for us when we need him to! John did a brilliant job at leading, conducting and passing on great wisdom and advice to us and the same goes for all the other members of the London Sinfonietta who have coached us in these rehearsals, including Dávur Juul Magnussen, Joely Koos, David Hockings, Michael Thompson and Helen Tunstall.

As I write I can hear the sectional rehearsals going on for the brand new work by Benjamin Oliver entitled Beasts bounding through time, which has been commissioned for the academy this year. This is the work being rehearsed in both pictures. You can also see the venue here from the audience’s perspective which people can look forward to in the concert this coming Saturday. I have been rather impressed by the Platform Theatre, and the fact that its acoustic is capable of showing a listener everything that is going on in an ensemble.

IMG_2758London Sinfonietta Academy has been a superb experience so far, and I’m glad it’s only day one and that I still have a lot left to look forward to!”




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