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Sir Simon Rattle presents BMW CLASSICS 2021. A free summer concert in Trafalgar Square featuring the next generation of music stars.

A giant temporary stage in Trafalgar Square will host Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra with young musicians from the pioneering LSO East London Academy and 14-year-old violinist Leia Zhu for the free BMW CLASSICS concert on Sunday 15 August 2021 at 6.30pm.

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Munich/ London. A giant temporary stage in Trafalgar Square will host Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra with young musicians from the pioneering LSO East London Academy and 14-year-old violinist Leia Zhu for the free BMW CLASSICS concert on Sunday 15 August 2021 at 6.30pm.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the partnership between BMW and the London Symphony Orchestra, and the beginning of a further three-year partnership bringing access to world leading music to everyone in one of London’s most iconic public spaces. The audience in Trafalgar Square will be joined by thousands more watching the live stream on YouTube bringing music lovers across the globe together. 

Sir Simon Rattle will take to the stage to conduct musicians of all ages with the London Symphony Orchestra, alongside 20 young musicians from the LSO East London Academy and British-Chinese teenage violin prodigy Leia Zhu, guest soloist for Saint-Saëns’ great violin showpiece “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso”.

The programme features music on a theme of dance and ballet with Dvořák’s “Slavonic Dances”, and Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” in addition to the first live performance of Ayanna Witter-Johnson’s “DreamCity”.

Commenting today, Sir Simon Rattle said, “This year will be extra special. 2020’s concert was a casualty of the pandemic and we have shifted our date to August in the hope that social distancing guidelines will have eased some more so we can gather together as an orchestra and with a crowd and have a great musical summer party. I am delighted that the musicians from the LSO East London Academy are joining us on stage, along with the soaring talent that is Leia Zhu. These young people are the future and it is awe-inspiring to see their talent develop, and share their gifts with the crowd in Trafalgar Square and on YouTube. I am truly grateful to BMW and Sadiq Khan as Mayor for London for making this possible.”

The BMW CLASSICS programme is staged as part of the Mayor of London’s ‘Let’s Do London’ campaign, showcasing London as a world class creative capital. The biggest domestic tourism campaign the capital has ever seen is encouraging Londoners and visitors to come back to the city and take advantage of London’s public spaces and cultural riches.

Dr. Nicolas Peter, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG: “I am absolutely delighted that our successful partnership of the London Symphony Orchestra and BMW will be extended for another three years. Our commitment in the field of classical music is an integral part of our 50-year long worldwide cultural engagement. I am very much looking forward to experiencing the open-air concert again and seeing Sir Simon Rattle and all the musicians back on stage.”

“I’m delighted that Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra will return to Trafalgar Square this August to put on a free concert alongside young London musicians. Outdoor classical concerts are a great way to enjoy music, and this performance will be a real treat. It’s a highlight of my Let’s Do London domestic tourism campaign, which is welcoming people back to safely enjoy the amazing culture on offer in London”, said the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

Composer Ayanna Witter-Johnson: “’DreamCity’ was a fantastic collaborative project for me; it was a total joy working with these incredibly talented and dedicated young musicians from East London. Initially conceived as a short film project, I am thrilled that the LSO have decided to give the piece another life and that the young musicians alongside the LSO will be giving ‘DreamCity’ it’s very first live performance.”


London Symphony Orchestra
Sunday 15 August 2021 at 6.30pm
Trafalgar Square, London

Featuring music from Dvořák’s “Slavonic Dances”, Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker”, Saint-Saën’s “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” and the first live performance of “DreamCity” by Ayanna Witter-Johnson.

For the audiences around the world, the concert will be available to watch on the YouTube channel of the London Symphony Orchestra.

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For further questions please contact:
Christopher Millard
London Symphony Orchestra
Head of Press & External Relations
Telephone: +44 20 7545 502226

Doris Fleischer
BMW Group Corporate and Governmental Affairs
Cultural Engagement
Telephone: +49 89 382 27806

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