Sir Thomas Beecham, founder of the RPO
Original cover of the first RPO concert programme
Throughout its history, the Orchestra has been directed by a number of distinguished conductors, including Rudolf Kempe, Antal Doráti, André Previn, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yuri Temirkanov and, more recently, Daniele Gatti. Today the Orchestra enjoys the support of high-ranking conductors, with Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Charles Dutoit supported by Pinchas Zukerman as Principal Guest Conductor and Grzegorz Nowak as Principal Associate Conductor.
Central to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s thriving concert schedule is its prestigious annual series at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. In the 2013–2014 series, the Orchestra is excited to be working with artists such as Charles Dutoit, Kirill Karabits, Stephen Hough, Steven Isserlis and classical guitarist John Williams. At Cadogan Hall, the Orchestra’s London home in Chelsea, the intimate and luxurious surroundings provide the perfect concert atmosphere, with forthcoming performances featuring Grzegorz Nowak, Alessandro Fabrizi and Pinchas Zukerman. Completing the Orchestra’s programme of London concerts is a series of monumental performances at the iconic Royal Albert Hall, ranging from large-scale choral and orchestral works to themed evenings of well-known repertoire.
The Orchestra prides itself on its comprehensive regional touring programme, offering regular performances at established residencies in Croydon, Northampton, Lowestoft, Reading, Crawley, Ipswich, High Wycombe, Scunthorpe, Aylesbury, Dartford, Guildford and Cambridge, as well as other venues across the UK. Internationally, the Orchestra is also in high demand, undertaking several major tours each year. Recent engagements have included residencies in Azerbaijan and Shanghai, regular visits to Spain and Italy, concerts in Oman, Russia, France, Germany and Austria and an extensive tour of Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and China with Charles Dutoit and Yuja Wang. The 2013–2014 season began with the fourth year of the Orchestra’s annual residency in Montreux, Switzerland, where it gave performances under Charles Dutoit and soloists including Martha Argerich, Kirill Gerstein and Renaud Capuçon. In December, the Orchestra performed in St Petersburg in honour of Yuri Temirkanov’s 75th birthday and more recently it completed an acclaimed three-week tour of the USA with celebrated performer Pinchas Zukerman. Future engagements include further tours to Spain, Italy, Germany, Poland and Denmark, with artists such as Maria João Pires, Nicole Cabell and Arabella Steinbacher, and conductors including Pinchas Zukerman and Principal Conductor Charles Dutoit.
Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s vibrant community and education programme RPO resound, which is one of the most diverse and celebrated programmes in the UK. Since its inception in 1993, specially trained musicians from the Orchestra have worked alongside accomplished project leaders to deliver thousands of pioneering projects and sessions, enabling greater access to and engagement with world-class music-making in the wider community. Using music as a powerful and inspirational tool, RPO resound is unique in the breadth and range of participant groups with which it works – from homeless shelters to hospices, youth clubs to prisons and from early years to higher education.
Frequently found in the recording studio, the RPO records extensively for film and television. As well as enjoying a long partnership with many of the major commercial record companies, the Orchestra owns its own record label with an extensive catalogue.
The Orchestra launched its new app in October 2013: RPO Rewards is a loyalty ticket scheme that is available for free download on the App Store and Google Play. It is an easy and rewarding way of purchasing tickets to see the Orchestra in concerts at London’s Cadogan Hall, Southbank Centre and regional venues across the UK.
What the critics say!
‘The RPO do sensuousness uncommonly well. The end result was rich yet delicate, with wonderfully liquid woodwind solos and an exquisite sheen on the strings.’ The Guardian
‘Hats off to the RPO who sounded reborn.’ The Independent
‘The result was a stirring, memorable performance of an exceptionally interesting and difficult work — just the kind of thing that has made the RPO such a welcome presence in Santa Barbara throughout the years.’ Santa Barbara Independent
‘The strings are highly impressive ... the RPO offers muscular brass and first-class woodwinds. The rhythmic intricacies and sharp contrasts in mood and tempi were dextrously handled by Dutoit and the musicians delivered the music with fleet bravura.’ Chicago Classical Review