Concert at House of Commons to raise awareness of arts funding gap

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) will host a reception at the House of Commons on Tuesday 19 April, marking the RPO’s 70th Anniversary and celebrating the Orchestra’s flagship UK regional touring programme. The occasion is being sponsored by the Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP and supported by Northern Trust.

Since the formation of the RPO in 1946, its mission has been to bring world-class orchestral music to the widest possible audience, both at home and internationally. Performing 180 worldwide concerts a year, the Orchestra’s roots are firmly in the UK, with a wider audience demographic than any other British ensemble. The variety and diversity of its programming helps attract an annual and global audience in excess of 500,000.

“If the Orchestra’s regional output is to be secured, we must at least maintain current levels of public funding whilst increasing corporate and private sponsorship,” says Ian Maclay, Managing Director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. “The funding we receive from Northern Trust and other sponsors is fundamental and we must continue to make our voice, as well as our music heard, in order to be able to celebrate a further 70 years.”

Since 1983, RPO Resound, the Orchestra’s ground-breaking and award-winning community and education programme, has taken music into the heart of the English regions which it regularly serves, using the extraordinary power of music to enhance the lives of those in our society who are less fortunate.

“Northern Trust is dedicated to not only meeting the needs of our clients and shareholders, but to giving back to the communities in which we serve,” said Penelope Biggs, head of the Institutional Investor group, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Global Head of Marketing and Strategy for Corporate and Institutional Services, Northern Trust. “We proudly advocate corporate citizenship and philanthropy and are delighted to support the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in making world-class orchestral music accessible to the widest possible audience.”

The RPO has the widest geographic reach of any English orchestra, performing in more than 70 towns and cities each year, from Hull to Reading, Lowestoft to Scunthorpe.

Notes to editor

Key facts

  • The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has the widest demographic of any of England’s orchestras, performing in more than 70 towns and cities in each year.
  • The RPO operates a mixed funding model with public funding accounting for less than 12% of the Orchestra’s annual turnover.
  • The Orchestra and its award-winning Community and Education Programme, RPO Resound, engaged just under 15,000 participants from schools to families during 2015.
  • The RPO played an important role in securing Hull as the City of Culture for 2017, which will generate £60 million to the local economy.   
  • The RPO is completely committed to diversity in all of its forms, both in society and in the work place.
  • In 2015, the RPO performed 172 concerts, playing in London, UK venues and internationally, reaching a combined audience in excess of 500,000.
  • STROKESTRA, the RPO’s stroke rehabilitation programme, has recently won two significant healthcare awards.
  • The RPO is committed to supporting young emerging talent, providing young artists a world-class platform.             
  • The Orchestra is at the forefront of digital technology and is fully committed to emerging digital opportunities.

Regional venues

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s regularly visits Fairfield Hall CroydonThe Wycombe Swan High WycombeThe Orchard Theatre DartfordRoyal & Derngate NorthamptonThe Bath Halls ScunthorpeThe Marina Theatre Lowestoft, Ipswich Regent TheatreCheltenham Town HallThe Hexagon ReadingHull City HallThe Hawth CrawleyCambridge Corn Exchange and Cliffs Pavilion Southend, to name just a few.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra biography

In 2016, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) celebrates 70 years at the forefront of music-making in the UK. Its home base since 2004 at London’s Cadogan Hall serves as a springboard for fourteen residencies across the country, often in areas where access to live orchestral music is very limited. With a wider reach than any other UK large ensemble, the RPO has truly become Britain’s national orchestra. 

Read the full biography

Contact information

For further comments or information, please contact Chris Evans (Director of Press and Marketing, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra). Telephone: 020 7608 8836 | Mobile: 07702 210074 | Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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