St Luke's is an 18th-century Grade 1 listed Hawksmoor church, restored to become the home of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) community and music education programme LSO Discovery. LSO is London's oldest orchestra and has a long and fascinating history. As well as rehearsals St Luke’s plays host to a diverse selection of concerts and has seen artists and groups perform from across the spectrum.
The church is sited on Old Street, north of the City of London, and was built to relieve the church of St Giles-without-Cripplegate, under the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches, an attempt to meet the religious needs of London's burgeoning 18th century population. It was completed and the corresponding parish of St Luke's created in 1733.
The church was designed by John James, though the obelisk spire, a most unusual feature for an Anglican Church, west tower and flanking staircase wings were by Nicholas Hawksmoor.
The church was closed by the Church of England Diocese of London in 1964 after subsidence made it unsafe and it lay empty. The roof was removed two years later for safety reasons and the shell became a dramatic ruin for 40 years, overgrown with trees; despite being a Grade I listed building.
After several controversial proposals to redevelop offices inside the retained walls, it was converted by the St Luke Centre Management Company Ltd for the London Symphony Orchestra as a concert hall, rehearsal, recording space and educational resource.
During 2006 the BBC used the venue to record intimate concerts by Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon for broadcast. Sir Elton John also recorded an intimate concert which to publicise an album.
The venue regularly hosts open rehearsals by the London Symphony Orchestra in advance of their concerts at the nearby Barbican Hall and has pioneered genre busting events such as the Eclectica series sponsored by UBS which combine classical, jazz, experimental and electronic sounds worlds.
Tickets can be booked online, by phone or in person at the box office. If you would like to look around LSO St Luke's please contact the Centre and visits can be arranged.
Contact details for LSO St Luke’s tel: +44 (0)20 7490 3939, fax: +44 (0)20 7566 2881, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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