Guide to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

October 2017
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Evening performance
Matinee performance
« It was a truly excellent orchestral performance, bringing out the full range of colour in the score...Dutoit unleashed the full power of the orchestra, the Royal Festival Hall organ included, to really push us back into our seats. The final peak... was equally compelling »
David Karlin, Bachtrack

« Something quite remarkable happens to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra when Charles Dutoit stands before it. [It] is suddenly transformed when its Principal Conductor galvanises it. »
Mark Pullinger, Bachtrack

Upcoming eventsSee more...

LondonSymphonic Queen

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Matthew Freeman; Ken Bruce; Capital Voices

LondonJames Fountain performs Haydn

Mendelssohn, Haydn, Beethoven
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Christoph Altstaedt; Unknown

CambridgeDaniel Kharitonov performs Beethoven

Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Dvořák
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Christoph Altstaedt; Daniel Kharitonov

LondonCity of London Choir performs Haydn's 'Creation Mass'

Haydn, Mozart
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Hilary Davan Wetton; City of London Choir; Llŷr Williams; Laura Mitchell; Anna Harvey

High WycombeJanina Fialkowska performs Chopin

Mendelssohn, Chopin, Vaughan Williams, Elgar
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Barry Wordsworth; Janina Fialkowska
Latest reviewsSee more...

Inside and outside the comfort zone: Dutoit leads Argerich and the RPO

Few other pianists have Argerich’s naturalness, her ability to epitomize the essence of music rather than interpret it. 
***11
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Prom 43: Dutoit and the RPO pull out all the stops

Just what the doctor ordered: a programme of Franco-Iberian musical delights to advance the cause of a Mediterranean lifestyle, with Charles Dutoit and the RPO in commanding form.
****1
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Walton's First Symphony still blazes at the RFH

The RPO were on ripe form in works that still need such fine advocacy, and which deserved a much larger audience.
****1
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Royal Choral Society impresses with Russian music

Intended to signify the contribution of Russian music to the Western canon, the Royal Choral Society gave admirable performances of two major choral works, rarely heard in Winchester Cathedral.
****1
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Full-on romantics at Cadogan Hall

Big sounds were on display as Christoph König and the RPO powered through Rachmaninov and Wagner, with a measured and flowing Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto from Tasmin Little.
***11
Read more
Biography

In 2016, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) celebrates 70 years at the forefront of music-making in the UK. Its home base since 2004 at London’s Cadogan Hall serves as a springboard for fourteen residencies across the country, often in areas where access to live orchestral music is very limited. With a wider reach than any other UK large ensemble, the RPO has truly become Britain’s national orchestra.

The regional programme, plus regular performances at Cadogan Hall, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall and a hugely popular series at the Royal Albert Hall, are conducted by a distinguished roster of musicians: Charles Dutoit, appointed Artistic Director and Principal Conductor in 2009 after a decades-long association with the RPO; Pinchas Zukerman, the inspirational Principal Guest Conductor; Alexander Shelley, the dynamic young Principal Associate Conductor since January 2015, and the esteemed Permanent Associate Conductor Grzegorz Nowak.

International touring is vital to the Orchestra’s work, taking it to many prestigious destinations worldwide. The 70th Anniversary Season has included concerts at the festivals of Montreux and Granada, an extensive tour of the USA, and recent visits to central Europe and the Far East, including South Korea and China.

For more than twenty years RPO Resound, the Orchestra’s community and education programme, has taken music into the heart of the regions that the Orchestra serves. From Azerbaijan to Jamaica and from Shanghai to Scunthorpe, the team – comprising the majority of the Orchestra – has worked with young people, the homeless, recovering stroke patients (in the STROKESTRA project in Hull) and in settings ranging from the Sea Life London Aquarium to hospitals, orphanages and children’s hospices.

In 1986, the RPO became the first UK orchestra to launch its own record label. Continuing its tradition of entrepreneurial innovation, in 2015 the RPO started an online radio station, The Sound of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which broadcasts via its website, and RPO TV, an online video channel streaming fly-on-the-wall shorts written, directed and filmed by the musicians.

The Orchestra has become increasingly active on social media platforms, inviting audiences to engage informally on Facebook and Twitter and to enjoy behind-the-scenes insights on the RPO blog, YouTube and Instagram.

Although the RPO embraces twenty-first-century opportunities, including appearances with pop stars and on video game, film and television soundtracks, its artistic priority remains paramount: the making of great music at the highest level for the widest possible audience. This would have been lauded by its Founder and first conductor, Sir Thomas Beecham, who set up the RPO in 1946, leading a vital revival in the UK’s orchestral life after World War II.

Since then, the Orchestra’s principal conductors have included Rudolf Kempe, Antal Doráti, Walter Weller, André Previn, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yuri Temirkanov and Daniele Gatti; and its repertoire has encompassed every strand of music from the core classical repertoire to music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and works by leading composers of recent years, including Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and Sir John Tavener.

As the 70th Anniversary Season unfolds, the RPO’s versatility and high standards mark it out as one of today’s most open-minded, forward-thinking symphony orchestras. Now it proudly looks forward to the next 70 years.