Design by D8

What goes into a design?

We commissioned design agency D8 to create a visual story of our Journeys of Discovery season with our Music Director Vasily Petrenko, a journey through the facets of the human character with music as our guide in concerts at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall and the Royal Albert Hall. Read on for a breakdown of the elements that make up the design and the inspirations and stories behind them.

 Hut 1

Mahler’s composing hut

Due to his extensive conducting schedule, the only time Mahler was able to compose was the summer months. And so there were three huts he would retreat to (two in Austria and one in Italy) to compose works such as his Symphony No.3, his longest symphony where in six movements he charts the evolution of nature and mankind, which we performed at the Royal Albert Hall on 27 April 2023.


Elgar’s Cello Concerto

One of the most famous cello concertos, Elgar brings us back to the somber realities of life. Part lament for the First World War, and written in the autumn of his life, it yearns for a simpler, untainted past. We performed this piece with soloist Daniel Müller-Schott on Sunday 23 April at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall.

piano 1

Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto

Tchaikovsky laboured long and hard on his First Piano Concerto, revising it three times. The result was a work that has stood the test of time, shooting its arrow direct to the heart. All sentiments are there: fury, serenity, joy, and – of course – passion. We'll perform this piece on 7 June at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall with pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii.

Cupid 1

Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet
Cupid, with his bow (shaped here like a violin f-hole) and arrow, represents Prokofiev’s ballet score telling the story of Shakespeare’s infamous star crossed lovers. We performed this piece on Wednesday 8 February 2023 at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall.

 waterfall 1

Grieg's Piano Concerto
Inviting you to embrace the simpler pleasures in life, Grieg’s Piano Concerto’s melodic richness echoes the beauty of the Norwegian fjords he grew up around. We performed this work in the very first Jouneys of Discovery concert on Sunday 2 October 2022 with pianist Simon Trpčeski.

boat 1

Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde

Wagner’s great love tragedy often described as ‘the ultimate opera’ tells the story of a love affair between a Cornish knight and an Irish princess - injured and thought dead, Tristan is sent off to sea on a ship where he is discovered and nursed back to health by Isolde. We performed the Prelude and Liebestod from the opera on Wednesday 8 Febraury 2023.

 horn 1

Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Inspired by German literature, Mahler took 14 of ‘The Boy’s Magic Horn’ folk poems by Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim and put them to music in various settings over his career. It was said that “in these songs you can feel the heartbeat of the German people.” We performed excerpts from Des Knaben Wunderhorn on Wednesday 22 March 2023 with soprano Elizabeth Watts and mezzo-soprano Claudia Huckle.

fish 1

The sixth song of Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn, which also referenced in Mahler’s second symphony, takes the story of St Anthony’s sermon to the fishes. Based on St. Anthony of Padua, a 13th century Portuguese saint, it tells the story of St Anthony arriving to find an empty church, and so he instead goes down to the river to deliver his sermon to the fishes, who arrive in number and are captivated by St Anthony, but when the sermon ends, immediately return to their old ways.


Shostakovich Symphony No.8

Shostakovich’s response to the unfathomable losses of the Second World War was to write a work that did not shy away from the ugliness and chaos of the indiscriminate suffering that had been unleashed. As is so often the case with his music, listening to the Eighth Symphony offers a catharsis, moving from unrelenting pressure to finding final release. We'll perform this symphony as the final piece of our Journeys of Discovery season on Wednesday 7 June 2023 at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall.

 sun moon

Strauss' Also sprach Zarathustra

Strauss’s iconic musical sunrise in the first movement of Also sprach Zarathustra was featured in Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi epic 2001: A Space Odyssey, leaving an unmistakable mark on pop culture ever since. We played this majestiv piece in the jirst concert of the series on Sunday 2 October 2022 at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall.

If you love this design as much as we do why not grab yourself a Journeys of Discovery tote bag, postcard or even some exclusive gin

With every single purchase of an item from the RPO Shop you are supporting the RPO and its mission to spread the joy of orchestral music with the widest possible audience.

Visit the RPO shop


Discover the exclusive benefits enjoyed by our most loyal audience members.
Support the RPO on our journey to make orchestral music accessible to all.
Stay up to date with the latest concerts, news and stories from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.