classical music
contemporary classical

Lessons from the Past

Part of Classical Season 2020/21

A world premiere by Luke Bedford brings voices from the literary past into the present, with the London Sinfonietta.

British tenor Mark Padmore joins the orchestra in the intimate setting of Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

‘I begin with the desire to speak to the dead,’ wrote literary critic Stephen Greenblatt. Composer Luke Bedford found the idea deeply intriguing: ‘Here, staring straight at me, was the starting point of a new work.’

His new work, In the Voices of the Living draws on the words of Petrarch, James Joyce, Giacomo Leopardi and Shakespeare.

It asks how we can learn from the past and use this wisdom to tackle the challenges of today.

Following the success of Mark Padmore’s collaboration with London Sinfonietta in the 2017 commission of Tansy Davies’ Cave, the tenor returns to weave Bedford’s songs into a concert inspired by the composer’s thematic approach.

Tom Service from BBC Radio 3 said of Bedford’s 2006 London Sinfonietta commission that it was ‘one of the most outstanding pieces by any composer I’ve ever experienced.’


London Sinfonietta
Anna-Maria Helsing conductor
Mark Padmore tenor


Programme includes: -
Luke Bedford: In the Voices of the Living (World premiere)

Dates & times

19 Jan 2021
Approximate run time: 135 mins
Run times may vary, find out more


Purcell Room


Booking fee: £3.50 (Members £0.00)


25% off (limited availability)
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need to know

Southbank Centre takes a strong view on secondary ticketing. We require the lead booker to attend (photo ID may be requested). Tickets can only be resold by Southbank Centre or one of its authorised agents.