London School’s Symphony Orchestra
Hailed by Sir Simon Rattle as “an incomparable ambassador for the dynamism and excellence of British youth”, the London Schools Symphony Orchestra (LSSO) has for over sixty years been celebrated as a potent symbol of the talents and achievements of London’s finest young musicians.
The orchestra aims to give its members a complete experience of the orchestral repertoire, from Bach through to Beethoven, Bartòk and beyond.
Playing in the LSSO is an opportunity to get to know great music from the inside out, to work with distinguished conductors, to accompany some of the world’s most illustrious soloists and to form long-lasting friendships through the shared joy and excitement of making music together.
Sponsored by the City of London Corporation, the LSSO presents three Barbican concerts plus a summer tour every year. Courses run during the Christmas, Easter and Summer holidays, comprising intensive rehearsals and coaching by London’s top orchestral musicians. Participation in all courses is encouraged but not mandatory. In the case of genuine need, financial assistance is available for course and tour fees.
Previous guest conductors have included Sir Colin Davis, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Richard Armstrong, Tamás Vásáry, and Leif Segerstam. The summer tour has taken the young talent of London as far as Turkey, Japan, Poland, Argentina, Italy and the USA.
Peter Ash – Artistic Director
Peter Ash was born in Iowa, USA and studied at the Guildhall School of Music in London. As conductor, he has worked with many major orchestras in Europe and America, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, St Petersburg Camerata, Kammerphilharmonie Berlin, Estonian State Symphony and the National Orchestra of Latvia. Opera work includes Los Angeles Opera, Lisbon Opera, Istanbul State Opera and English Bach Festival. His taste is eclectic and ranges from baroque opera to contemporary music.
The Hungarian Cultural Centre recently awarded him their Bartók prize for his performances of the composer’s music and in particular for a performance of Duke Bluebeard’s Castle.
Career highlights include the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s opera Fantastic Mr. Fox for the Los Angeles Opera, several premieres at the Salzburg Festival with Scharoun Ensemble (members of the Berlin Philharmonic), three Haydn operas at Garsington Opera (UK), and The Minpins – his own arrangement of orchestral music by Sibelius in St. Petersburg.
He has also composed two operas. Keepers of the Night, was first presented by the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus in 2007. There, it was lauded by Alan Rich in Variety for its “charm, sophistication and deep beauty… a series of ensembles of truly bewitching complex harmonies.” His most recent opera, The Golden Ticket, based on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was premiered by Opera Theatre St Louis in June 2010 to enthusiastic acclaim. The critic of Opera Today praised Ash’s “unique aural palette,” while the Chicago Tribune described the show as “deliciously droll … an artful blend of simplicity and sophistication.”
Further performances followed at the Wexford Festival Opera in Ireland (October 2010) and then in Atlanta, Georgia in the USA, where Ash conducted. A live recording released in 2012 and based on these performances was described by Gramophone as “…an enchanting opera….(an) adroit transformation of Dahl’s book…into an uproarious and endearing operatic adventure.” He is currently developing his third opera project as well as a song cycle for the American tenor Keith Jameson.
Ash resides in London where he is Artistic Director of the London Schools Symphony Orchestra. He has led the orchestra for over ten years and taken them on tour all over Europe, as well as to Turkey and Japan.