Ten months in the life of a luthier

By Ben Wolstenholme (RPO, Double Bass)

On the bank of the river just down from the Thames Barrier, there is a workshop. Inside, on a shelf, there’s a tin containing nearly 200 small pieces of ebony with names written on one side. These are the names of double bass players going back generations. It’s a miniature history of the double bass in the palm of your hand.

What on earth has this got to do with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra? 

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RPO on Tour in Austria and Germany

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The year has started on a high for the RPO, with a hugely successful two week tour of Germany with conductor Lionel Bringuier. Preceded by an extraordinarily busy festive period, we seem well on the way to upholding our recently bestowed accolade of being the ‘Busiest Orchestra of 2018’ (according to Bachtrack)!

Armed with layers of cosy clothing, hours of netflix downloads and dazzling symphonic repertoire, we began our tour with a brief Austrian encounter with the beautiful Alpine city, Innsbruck. This was a postcard scene of wintry luxury and I hopped straight into a snowy cliche: hot chocolate in the sunshine, snuggled under a sheepskin rug, imagining I was on a swanky skiing retreat. The reality was I would be in a different city every day for two weeks, living out of a suitcase and probably in need of an osteopathy appointment by the end! Having said that, I do enjoy touring - the trick is to maintain a tiny grasp on reality whilst embracing the intensity and challenges of travelling around with over eighty of your colleagues. It takes stamina and the RPO certainly has that, in huge supply.

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Behind The Scenes at 'Classical Spectacular'

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Twice a year the RPO heads to the Royal Albert Hall to entertain over 30,000 people at Raymond Gubbay Ltd's ‘Classical Spectacular’. Jo Marsh, flautist in the RPO was keen to go behind the scenes in November, to try and discover the secret to their phenomenal success.

'The first Classical Spectacular was launched in 1989, and Anthony Findlay (CEO of Raymond Gubbay Ltd.) explains that “the idea was to provide an evening of great entertainment, combining classical music favourites played by the RPO with lighting and pyrotechnics. Although the show has developed over the last 30 years with even more “spectacular” additions such as lasers and dancers, the ethos of Raymond Gubbay’s original show has remained at the core – to keep classical music live. Without the music provided by the RPO, there is no show!”

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Seven Days in America - November 2018

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By Adam Wright (Sub-Principal Trumpet and Chairman)

As members of the RPO we are extremely fortunate to get to travel all around the world, visiting places you might choose to go to as a tourist, as well as destinations that are a little more off the beaten track. Even on these wonderful tours, however, it is rare to see and experience anything as inspirational as we did on our recent RPO brass quintet trip to the USA.

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RPO Blog

The RPO Blog offers a musician’s-view of orchestral life. Join us as we chart the highs (and occasional lows) of our weird and wonderful lifestyle in this orchestra we all love, the RPO.