One of the undeniable highlights of the LSO’s 2011/12 season is right around the corner – a festival of five concerts, spread across three venues (the Barbican, LSO St Luke’s and Trafalgar Square), celebrating the many faces of composer Igor Stravinsky and led by one of the most powerful champions of Russian music today, LSO Principal Conductor Valery Gergiev. With repertoire ranging from the iconic Firebird and Rite of Spring to the hidden curiosities of Stravinsky’s jazz miniatures, appearances from guests including Greek virtuoso violinist Leonidas Kavakos and actor Simon Callow, and the chance to choose your setting, this all-encompassing series promises something for everyone Stravinsky is frequently cast against contemporaries Shostakovich and Prokofiev as an example of a somehow less inherently Russian creator: born in St Petersburg, his 60-year career saw him settle in Switzerland, France and finally the US, where he lived until his death in 1971. His music is, on the surface, similarly cosmopolitan. The early ballets for Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes – The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring – and the Russian fairytale-based Renard plus The Soldier’s Tale form a loose ‘Russian’ period; Oedipus Rex and the Violin Concerto are part of his ‘neo-classical’ period which saw a return to the form, order and balance of the late 18th century, and reached an apex whilst the composer was in Paris. Then there is a body of serial works which developed post-1945, once Stravinsky had become a US citizen. But Gergiev insists that Stravinsky’s ‘Russianness’ did not simply cease to be when he left for the West, aged 28… > Watch Valery Gergiev discuss Stravinsky http://vimeo.com/21922333 > LSO mini documentary about The Rite of Spring http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dIq_sF1agI Choral splendour & solo violin frolics Fri 11 May 7.30pm Barbican Mass | Violin Concerto in D | The Firebird – complete ballet with Leonidas Kavakos violin & London Symphony Chorus Free concert: Stravinsky live in Trafalgar Square Sat 12 May 6.30pm Trafalgar Square Fireworks | The Firebird – suite | The Rite of Spring with Paul Rissmann presenter Folk tales from Russia Sun 13 May 7.30pm Barbican Renard | The Soldier’s Tale with Simon Callow narrator & LSO Chamber Ensemble PLUS ‘Backstage Pass’: free pre-concert talk for young people and their families: The music that rocked the 20th century & neo-classical tragedy  Tue 15 May 7.30pm Barbican The Rite of Spring | Oedipus Rex http://www.lso.co.uk/page/3688/Summer-Stravinsky-Festival-with-Valery-Gergiev