Alexander Shelley: ‘Sandwiches’ of Prokofiev and Sibelius

October at Cadogan Hall sees the start of a fascinating series of four concerts under the baton of Alexander Shelley, the RPO’s Principal Associate Conductor. Called Symphonic Soundscapes, the series pairs those giants of twentieth-century music, Jean Sibelius and Sergei Prokofiev.

One Finnish, the other Russian – you’d think Finlandia, Sibelius’ famous cry for freedom from Russian oppression, would rule out this musical pairing at a stroke. Not so, says Shelley.

Meet James Williams: the RPO's new MD

James Williams

Earlier in our milestone year, we welcomed James Williams as our new Managing Director. Hannah Nepil caught up with him in a recent phone interview to find out more about how he’s settling in and future plans for the organisation.

James Williams sounds surprisingly relaxed. Perhaps, after only a couple of months as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s new Managing Director, the stress of the role hasn’t fully set in. Or perhaps he is just concealing it. After all, as he points out, it takes a lot of work ‘to get under the skin of these big, complicated organisations. You have to do a lot of listening to people to get a feel for the culture and the organisation’s values.’

Celebrating 70 years of orchestral excellence: the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra enters an exciting new era

To mark the Orchestra’s platinum season, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) will host its 70th Anniversary Gala Concert at the Royal Albert Hall on Monday 19 September, featuring three all-time prestigious artists: Martha Argerich, Charles Dutoit (Artistic Director and Principal Conductor) and Pinchas Zukerman (Principal Guest Conductor). The thrilling concert will include Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor with Martha Argerich and Bruch’s Violin Concerto No.1 with Pinchas Zukerman (Violin/Director), and will conclude with Stravinsky’s epic ballet score, The Firebird Suite (1919), conducted by Charles Dutoit.

Ian Maclay: Reflecting on over four decades

Ian Maclay

In a phone interview with Hannah Nepil, prior to his retirement last month, Ian Maclay reflects on his many decades of dedication and hard work as Managing Director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

He first arrived in 1972, when the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was only twenty-five years old, and there was no shame in having excessive facial hair. Now, in the ensemble’s 70th Anniversary Year, Ian Maclay is retiring as its Managing Director. How does he feel? ‘It will be like cutting off my right arm,’ he says, ‘but it was always going to be difficult. And I wanted to go before the players were muttering in corners, and saying “Oh blimey, will he never go?”’ He laughs, ‘or perhaps they already are.’

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