Zukerman drives an unsteady Russian troika with the RPO

A troika of Russian warhorses trotted out from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra stable, with Pinchas Zukerman guiding the reins. The trouble is, once into the paddock they veered off in wildly different directions. Glinka cantered with a merry swagger, Rachmaninov surged down a lush, romantic path, but Tchaikovsky limped along stubbornly. Three completely different performances that left me perplexed.

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STROKESTRA: Driving rehabilitation work with group creative music-making

STROKESTRA is a pioneering collaboration between the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) and Hull Integrated Community Stroke Service (HICSS) which uses group creative music-making to drive patient-led rehabilitation work in stroke survivors and their carers.

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Olga Kern: fearlessness and family links

Some think they need to suffer for their art. Olga Kern doesn’t seem to be one of them. For this forty-year-old Russian pianist, playing seems to come effortlessly. In 2001, she became the first woman in over thirty years to win the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, and she has performed in front of former Presidents Mikhail Gorbachev and George W Bush and the former Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu. On none of those occasions did she feel nervous.

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RPO/Volkov at the Festival Hall


If you’re celebrating your 70th birthday — the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s milestone this year — you can’t go wrong if you invite Ingrid Fliter. Sitting farther back from the keys than many soloists, the Argentine pianist flung herself into Tuesday’s party with delicious abandon.

Those nimble fingers sprang through the jazzy rhythms of Ravel’s G minor Piano Concerto, swept up the arpeggios with a smile and still left enough spare energy for her to kick out an occasional leg. Focused and bright, the RPO, conducted by Ilan Volkov, weren’t dithering either.


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