Sir Simon Rattle to make St Paul’s Cathedral conducting debut

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Sir Simon Rattle will conduct at St Paul’s Cathedral for the first time, as part of a special gala concert for the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO).

The British conductor, who is also the music director of the orchestra, will conduct French composer Hector Berlioz’s rarely-performed symphony, Grande Symphonie Funebre Et Triomphale, one of the earliest examples of a symphony composed for a military band.

Three works by composer Olivier Messiaen featuring the St Paul’s Cathedral grand organ will also feature.

Funds raised by the gala will be donated to the LSO’s appeal which helps support the orchestra’s work in communities across London (Matt Alexander/PA)

Sir Simon has been the music director of the LSO since 2015, having previously been the musical director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic.

Speaking about the event, which will take place in June, Sir Simon said: “The Grande Symphonie Funebre Et Triomphale was unprecedented when it was created: a towering monument in sound, written to be performed in an enormous public space and scored for a small army of marching musicians.

“We will start our event with more than 80 musicians processing from nearby Paternoster Square then go onto perform Messiaen’s Et Exspecto Resurrectionem Mortuorum, another huge work for percussion, wind and woodwind which demands to be played in the open air or in suitably cavernous spaces.

“It has been a dream for as long as I can remember to perform in St Paul’s Cathedral.

“In the heart of the City of London.

“It is a huge privilege for all of us.

“For so many reasons, this concert has special meaning.

“Bringing thousands of people together in hope with the power of music as the great convener.”

The LSO’s resident home is at the Barbican Centre, however the orchestra occasionally performs at other locations in London.

The gala concert at St Paul’s will be the first time the orchestra has performed at the cathedral in five years.

The money raised by the concert will be donated to the LSO’s appeal, which ensures it is able to continue its work in communities across London.

The orchestra’s projects include the LSO East London Academy, a programme to enable young people of talent in east London schools to develop their musical skills alongside the professional musicians of the LSO.

Managing director of the LSO Kathryn McDowell said: “The privilege of being able to perform in St Paul’s Cathedral is exceptional.

“We are deeply grateful to our partners in the City of London for their support in making this possible, and ensuring that we are able to continue our work in the communities across the City and London more widely.”

The gala concert will take place at St Paul’s Cathedral on June 23 at 7pm, with tickets costing between £25 and £100.

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