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The first known photo of the LSO, July 1904.

The Founding of the London Symphony Orchestra

London, England – The London Symphony Orchestra was founded by members of the Queen’s Hall Orchestra, which had originally allowed its musicians to send deputies to concerts and rehearsals in their stead if they had the chance to play elsewhere for better pay (Classic FM). When this privilege was revoked, the members of the orchestra were understandably furious that they were to be limited to performing in a single group and many resigned. From that original group, 32 combined with outsiders to form the London Symphony Orchestra in 1904 (Concerts). Because the majority of the Symphony had already

LSO Flyer Image

A flyer for the first concert, June 1904

been playing with one another for a longer period of time, they had the advantage of knowing how to work together to produce the ideal sound (Concerts). Their first performance, given in the same hall, took place under maestro Dr. Hans Richter on June 9, 1904, receiving positive and encouraging reviews (Concerts).

Though there is no indication that Virginia Woolf attended this opening performance by the London Symphony Orchestra, there is no doubt she would have heard about it. The upset caused by the Queen’s Hall Orchestra seems to have been widely discussed, as the Times columnist assumes that all the readers have heard of it (Concerts). Woolf also attended many music performances throughout her lifetime, particularly loving opera, and was drawn to Wagner’s work (Varga, 54). Much of her writing was also influenced by Beethoven, Mozart, and J.S. Bach (Varga, xi), all of which were included on the LSO’s first program (Concerts).

Posted by: Mary Beth Lisk

Works Cited:

“Concerts.” Times [London, England] 10 June 1904: 7. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.

“The History of the London Symphony Orchestra in Picture.” Classic FM. N. p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.

“London Symphony Orchestra – 1900s.” London Symphony Orchestra. Arts Council England, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.

Varga, Adriana. Virginia Woolf and Music. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2014. Print.

Media Cited:

The First Known Photo of the LSO. July 1904. LSO, London, England. London Symphony Orchestra. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.

A Flyer for the LSO Concert, June 1904. LSO, London, England. London Symphony Orchestra. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.

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