For more than sixty years, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has enjoyed a warm relationship with American audiences, building a loyal and enthusiastic following during its regular coast-to-coast tours. To celebrate such an international bond, and to mark the beginning of the Orchestra’s sixteen-date USA tour in its 70th year, members of the RPO were thrilled to welcome American Friends of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (AFRPO) to its launch event held at the New York Yacht Club.
The AFRPO was originally established in 1983 to further the work of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the USA. Funds raised through the AFRPO have provided essential support for the Orchestra’s USA tours, educational activity at home and abroad, and for some of the young American artists who regularly appear with the RPO. In January 2016, the reinvigoration of the AFRPO coincided with the Orchestra’s major tour to the USA, during which the RPO wished to attract new patrons who enjoy being associated with one of the world’s great cultural institutions and who recognise the importance of developing a cross cultural relationship between the USA and Great Britain.
By supporting the Orchestra, benefactors and corporate partners of the RPO are able to experience music in both personal and public concert settings, as well as interact with the numerous internationally-acclaimed artists with whom the RPO performs. On Thursday 7 January, our American Friends were given the opportunity to engage with the RPO’s Principal Guest Conductor Pinchas Zukerman (who performs as conductor and violinist throughout the Orchestra’s three-week tour) in an informal Q&A session at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), where Maestro Zukerman and the RPO would perform in their first concert of the year the following day.
The AFRPO’s evening event, held at the New York Yacht Club, involved a celebratory performance and reception, honouring Pinchas Zukerman and commending the RPO’s 70th anniversary year. Following an introduction by the RPO’s Deputy Managing Director Huw Davies (the foremost contact for the AFRPO in the UK), Pinchas Zukerman and Amanda Forsyth were welcomed onstage alongside esteemed RPO musicians Andrew Storey (Principal Second Violin), Abigail Fenna (Co-Principal Viola) and Tim Gill (Principal Cello). The quintet performed movements from the Schubert Quintet in an intimate performance before our American Friends were able to meet and get to know the musicians.
The support the Orchestra receives from its American Friends is essential in its mission to bring world-class orchestral music to the widest possible audience. Following the RPO’s first major event in its 2016 calendar, the Orchestra looks to the future with more world-class performances, workshops and recordings, making copious opportunities available to the AFRPO during the RPO’s 70th year and beyond.