Journeys of Discovery

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is delighted to host a special podcast series with partners and collaborators Seven Hills: Journeys of Discovery.

The podcast series coincides with our Journeys of Discovery London season, which takes audiences on a journey through the facets of the human character with music as a guide. Asking: what does it mean to be human? What is our place in the world? What are we dreaming of? All fundamental issues humans have pondered for centuries, and composers have attempted to answer through music.

To add another dimension to the season, the Orchestra is partnering with Change Makers, a podcast for people with a passion to delve into what makes them tick and the joy, difference and contribution that empowers them to bring to the world. Over the course of nine conversations, we explore fundamental questions about what it means to be human that accompany nine incredible concerts.

Episode one: Awakening

The first theme of the season is Awakening. Wagner, Grieg and Strauss provide the soundtrack, as host Michael Hayman is joined by Kamal Ahmed, Co-Founder and Editor-in-chief, The News Movement, to offer the commentary.

Hear Kamal’s words of reflection there from his outstanding memoir, The Life and Times of a Very British Man, and a very personal take on his own journey of discovery.

 Episode two: Redemption and Freedom

We are excited to bring you the second episode of Journeys of Discovery, Redemption and Freedom, the latest in Change Makers' collaborative series with the Royal Philharmonic Orchesta. Over the course of these interviews, Michael explores fundamental questions about what it means to be human that accompany nine incredible concerts.

As Founding Director of Fine Cell Work, Katy speaks to Michael about how she is helping to transform the lives of prisoners and ex-prisoners through needlework.

Prisons can be "places of soul, spirit and connection", says Katy. Rather than carrying out their sentences "full of rage and self hate", prisoners should be permitted to embark on a journey of "self-understanding and self-acceptance". Through needlework, Fine Cell Work is opening one of the few doors of opportunity available to prisoners – allowing them both a glimpse of freedom, and a chance for redemption.

 Episode three: George Clarke

Journeys of Discovery podcast host Michael is joined by George Clarke, the architect, TV presenter, lecturer and writer, best known for his work with Channel 4, including The Restoration Man and George Clarke's Amazing Spaces.

Growing up on a Sunderland council estate, George was inspired to become an architect, spending summers on building sites with his grandfather. While studying at Newcastle University School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, and London’s Bartlett School of Architecture, George supported himself by renovating people’s homes in his spare time, before turning his attention to TV and programmes that demonstrate the opportunity of space and the vital importance of the home.

With special thanks to our audio partners at RØDE whose equipment was used to record this podcast. Visit their website below to find out more:

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Thank you to the BBC for providing the soundtrack, Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra performed by the RPO and Vasily Petrenko and recorded live in London at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall.

RPO Extra

RPO Extra is a podcast series performed and curated by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and BBC Northampton's John Griff offering insights into the people behind the music, information about upcoming concerts, and excerpts from the RPO's extensive back catalogue of recordings.

Click here to play episode 10. In our 10th and final podcast in this series, John Griff talks to RPO’s Community and Education Director Ruth Currie and Natasha Zielazinski, Workshop leader, about the benefits to young participants of RPO Resound online workshops in lockdown. In addition, James Williams RPO’s Managing Director discusses the present and future role of the Orchestra in the Arts re-emerging post COVID-19.

Click here to play episode 9. In Episode 9 of RPO Extra host John Griff is joined by Principal Associate Conductor Alexander Shelley to discuss a new virtual performance of Britten’s ‘Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra’ by the RPO, and how an orchestra can use the medium to reach out, perform and educate when concert halls are empty. Vice Chair and trombonist Matt Knight goes through the technical challenges bringing a virtual orchestra to life.

Click here to play episode 8. This latest edition, was recorded especially for Mental Health Awareness Month and explores a new roundtable discussion format, with a number of RPO musicians joining directly from their own homes. Katy Ayling (Principal Bass Clarinet), Erik Chapman (First Violin) and Sali-Wyn Ryan (Second Violin) speak to BBC Radio Northampton's John Griff about life in lockdown from the perspective of professional musicians and performers. 

Click here to play episode 7.  In this episode of RPO Extra we turn the spotlight on the #RPOatHome campaign with insights from Chris Evans, RPO's Director of Press and Marketing and interviews with two musicians. The RPO’s Co-Principal Cello Jonathan Ayling (pictured) talks about the luxury and necessity of having more time to practice whilst social distancing and RPO viola section leader Abigail Fenna talks about the viola section, its quirky home video and describes how she thinks the Orchestra will sound once they are reunited in the concert hall.

Click here to play episode 6. In this special feature edition of RPO Extra, Episode 6 offers an insight into the mind and future plans of the Orchestra’s Music Director Designate from August 2020, Vasily Petrenko. Host John Griff speaks to Vasily from his home about what he plans to bring to the Orchestra and what the future of music could be like after the current unprecedented situation.

Click here to play episode 5. In the 5th episode of RPO Extra we explore the backstory to a special re-orchestration of Handel's Messiah through a conversation with the American conductor Dr Jonathan Griffith who played a significant role in uncovering the story and bringing the music to life. Plus, we speak with pianist Daniel Ciobanu on his approach to performing as well as the RPO's Chair and double bass player Benn Cunningham on the inner workings of a national orchestra.

Click here to play episode 4. In the 4th episode of RPO Extra, Valentina Peleggi talks to John Griff about how she began her career as a conductor. We shine a light on the life and times of composer of Antonin Dvořák. Plus, RPO second violin Sali-Wyn Ryan speaks about the community and education work of RPO Resound.

Click here to play episode 3. How does the Orchestra choose what to play?” In this episode of RPO Extra, Louise Badger the Orchestra’s Concert Director talks about who chooses the music and why. Plus, RPO flautist Jo Marsh introduces the role of the flute in large scale symphonic repertoire.

Click here to play episode 2. Which region of the UK keeps the biggest CD collection? Plus, find out how RPO Principal Cello Richard Harwood likens the cello to a very demanding relative. All this and more in the second episode of RPO Extra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s seasonal podcast hosted by John Griff.

Click here to play episode 1. In the first episode of the RPO podcast, John Griff interviews James Williams, Managing Director of the RPO about the future of orchestral music following the publication of the YouGov report 2018; Violinist Francesca Dego describes what it is like to perform with the nation’s favourite orchestra ahead of her national tour and a moving tribute to the late Andre Previn.

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