Founded in 1949 by Harry Blech to delight audiences with the works of Mozart and Haydn, over the last 70-odd years the LMP has developed an outstanding reputation for adventurous, ambitious programming from Baroque through to genre-crossing contemporary music. It continues to build on its long history of association with many of the world’s finest artists including Sir James Galway, Dame Felicity Lott, Jane Glover, Howard Shelley, Nicola Benedetti, John Suchet and Simon Callow. The orchestra enjoys an international reputation, touring throughout Europe and the Far East, most recently Dubai and Hong Kong, and records for Naxos, Chandos, Signum, Hyperion, Convivium Records and the German label CPO.
The London Mozart Players has been the resident orchestra at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls for thirty years, and in September 2019 enjoyed a gala concert to celebrate the Halls’ reopening. As Croydon’s resident orchestra, the ensemble has shown an invigorated and growing commitment to the borough’s cultural life. In 2016, LMP relocated its office from Fairfield Halls to St John the Evangelist, Upper Norwood, undertaking a programme of initiatives within the local community. The orchestra has brought classical music stars Nicola Benedetti, Michael Collins and Sheku Kanneh-Mason to Upper Norwood in world-class performances, and its annual St John’s season has included family concerts and collaborations with local community groups and schools.
During the closure of Fairfield Halls for refurbishment, the orchestra took classical music to new and unusual venues across Croydon in its award-winning three-year series #LMPOnTheMove. This saw the ensemble pushing the perceived boundaries of classical music performance in the borough, welcoming new audiences and partnerships. Events included a live film score played on top of a shopping mall car park, a house music set at Boxpark with young DJ/producer Shift K3Y, free concerts in libraries for children and a series of musical initiatives in Centrale.
As one of the original pioneers of orchestral outreach work, LMP has enjoyed a host of relationships with schools and music hubs across the UK (and recently in Dubai and Hong Kong), working with teachers and heads of music to inspire the next generation of musicians and music lovers. As well as working with schools, LMP continues its long-established tradition of promoting young up-and-coming musicians. Nicola Benedetti, Jacqueline du Pré and Jan Pascal Tortelier are just three of many young musical virtuosos championed early in their careers by the orchestra.
The LMP enjoys a special relationship with its audience and has thriving Friends and Sponsors programmes. The orchestra always tries to break down the ‘fourth’ wall between musicians and audience, and this is achieved in part as the orchestra is self-directed. LMP is the only professional orchestra in the UK to be managed both operationally and artistically by the players. The orchestra has enjoyed the patronage of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh since 1988.