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London Symphony Orchestra
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London Symphony Orchestra

The London Symphony Orchestra (frequently abbreviated to LSO) is a full time orchestra based in London. It is one of the major orchestras of the United Kingdom. Since 1982 it has been based in the Barbican Centre.

It was founded in 1904 as an independent, self governing organisation, the first such orchestra in the UK. It played its first concert on the 9th of June in that year, when Hans Richter conducted. He remained principal conductor until 1911, when Edward Elgar took over for a year.

More recently, its principal conductors have included Pierre Monteux (1961-64), Istvan Kertesz (1965-68), André Previn (1968-79) and Claudio Abbado (1979-88). In 1988, the American Michael Tilson-Thomas took over, and in 1995, he was replaced by Colin Davis, Tilson Thomas becoming Principal Guest Conductor.

The LSO became the first British orchestra to play overseas when it went to Paris in 1906. It was also the first to play in the United States, in 1912, and in 1973 it was the first to be invited to take part in the Salzburg Festival. It continues to make tours around the world.

The LSO is considered the most extroverted of the London orchestras and has had that reputation for some time. There is an air of youthful high spirits to much of the orchestra's music-making that is shown off in performances of such composers as Berlioz and Prokofiev. The LSO has often had internationally known players as wind soloists, including such stars as James Galway (flute), Gervaise de Peyer (clarinet), and Barry Tuckwell (horn). The orchestra also, like most ensembles, has a great ability to vary its sound, producing very different tone colors under such diverse conductors as Stokowski (with whom it made a series of memorable recordings), Boult, Horenstein, Solti, Previn, Szell, Abbado, Bernstein, and Barbirolli, not to mention Karl Böhm, who developed a close relationship with the orchestra late in his life.

The LSO has also been famous for recording many motion picture scores through the decades, most recently for the Star Wars films, Braveheart, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, and Superman. They have also performed on many pop recordings, including The Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Other London-based orchestras include the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonia and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

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