News - BMW LSO Open Air Classics 2017


Rising star pianist Behzod Abduraimov will make his London Symphony Orchestra debut in Trafalgar Square at BMW LSO Open Air Classics 2017 in May. And it's FREE to go along to...

One of today’s rising stars of the piano, Behzod Abduraimnov, will make his London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) debut performing to a crowd of thousands at a free, outdoor concert in London’s Trafalgar Square, on Sunday 21 May as part of the annual BMW LSO Open Air Classics series. He performs Rachmaninov’s virtuosic Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, part of an all-Rachmaninov programme conducted by Valery Gergiev, which also features the composer’s Second Symphony.

Abduraimov said, ‘To make my debut with the London Symphony Orchestra in the iconic Trafalgar Square will be a wonderful experience and I am very much looking forward to performing with the LSO and again with Maestro Gergiev. I hope the audience will be drawn into the romanticism of Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini and taken on a musical journey through the array of colours and emotions depicted by the 24 Variations.’

The concert is the result of a partnership between the LSO and BMW who share the belief that great music is for everyone, whatever their background or situation. Now highly-anticipated in London’s musical calendar, BMW LSO Open Air Classics each year offers everyone who can be there, Londoners and visitors to the city alike, the opportunity to experience the LSO free and in the open air in Trafalgar Square. Large screens and state-of-the-art sound technology allow the whole crowd to witness the concert close-up, making the experience equally special at the back of the square as at the front.

Forty young musicians from schools in east London, aged between 11 and 18 years, will join the LSO on stage for a special performance of Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances. Playing as part of the Orchestra, the young people will sit amongst the members of the LSO and musicians from the Guildhall School, all performing together.

This thrilling experience for the young musicians, who are from a broad range of backgrounds in the diverse East London community, is part of LSO On Track, a pioneering programme which, in partnership with local music education hubs, builds on existing musical provision by giving special access to LSO musicians. Through school visits, ensemble learning, mentoring and opportunities to perform with the LSO on stage, young people are challenged and inspired, giving them valuable insight into the life of a professional musician and nurturing their talent. LSO On Track also provides mentoring for primary school teachers, who may have had little or no musical training, in order to build the knowledge and confidence they need to use music creatively in classrooms. LSO On Track was launched in 2008 and has seen young people perform side-by-side with the LSO in Trafalgar Square, at the Barbican and notably as part of the Opening Ceremony for the London Olympics in 2012.

This annual concert in Trafalgar Square, now in its sixth year thanks to the continued support of BMW, takes the LSO beyond the concert hall and out reaching new audiences. In 2016, 69% of the audience in the Square were under the age of 35 and 86% had never seen the LSO perform before.

Kathryn McDowell, the LSO’s Managing Director, said, ‘I’m delighted that this wonderful, free event, for all Londoners, presented in partnership with BMW, will again bring the LSO’s music into the heart of London. We have a piano soloist for the first time in the Square, the dazzling young Behzod Abduraimov who will perform Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, making his LSO debut in this dramatic setting. A real highlight will be the performance by the young LSO On Track musicians, demonstrating the remarkable work our players do in music education throughout the year, and providing a hugely rewarding and exciting musical experience for the young people. All of this is enabled by the continued support of BMW who have been our partner in this project since it began, and sincere thanks to Ian Robertson and the BMW teams in the UK and Germany who work closely with us to bring this event about. I’d also like to thank the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, for his continued support.’

The performance begins at 6.30pm on Sunday 21 May 2017. The concert is free, does not require a ticket and is open to everybody. However, for the safety and comfort of the audience, only a certain number of people can access the square during the performance and, once capacity is reached entry will be suspended. Early arrival is therefore strongly advised to secure a place.

Image & Info - LSO

Listings Information - Sunday 21 May 2017 6.30pm, Trafalgar Square

RACHMANINOV Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
RACHMANINOV arr GLYN Non Allegro from ‘Symphonic Dances’
RACHMANINOV Allegro molto, Adagio and Allegro Vivace from Symphony No 2

Valery Gergiev, conductor
Behzod Abduraimov, piano
London Symphony Orchestra
LSO On Track Young Musicians
Guildhall School Musicians