© Peter Graham

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has returned to the USA this January for a winter tour with our Music Director Vasily Petrenko, featuring Isata Kanneh-Mason and more special guests.

To kick things off, the orchestra embarked on a week-long residency in Orange County, California. They performed in some amazing venues and teamed up with the Orange County Philharmonic Society, visiting schools and conducting community workshops with the RPO Resound team.

Read on to find out more about what our players got up to on the West Coast...

On Monday 15 January, a group of RPO players arrived at Santa Ana High School to perform a fun and interactive concert whilst dressed as their favourite heroes and villains - an ode to the concert's theme. Take a look at this article from the Orange Country Register for a glimpse of the super-players in action.

On Tuesday 16 January, it was off to Palm Desert for a final rehearsal at McCallum Theatre before the first official concert of the tour. That evening, the orchestra performed pieces from two Russian greats, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev, and were joined by exceptional pianist and former RPO Artist-in-Residence Isata Kanneh-Mason for Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No.3.

© Patrick Flanaghan

© Peter Graham

But not before exploring Newport Beach and fulfilling our biennial tradition of signing the McCallum Theatre's backstage wall!

© Sali-Wyn Ryan

Wednesday 17 January was an early start with our players delivering two Resound sessions - one with Santa Ana High School and a STROKESTRA workshop at The University of California, Irvine Medical Center, in partnership with the UCI Brain programme. STROKESTRA® is RPO Resound's rehabilitation programme, which incorporates specially adapted musical techniques into the stroke recovery process. With the help of presenter Tim Steiner, the players worked with the UCI music students to assist stroke survivors in a dynamic and music-focused workshop. 

You can watch the CBS News coverage of the event by clicking here or watching the YouTube video below.

IMG 7178

© Arts Outreach at UC Irvine's Claire Trevor School of the Arts

Later that evening, the orchestra headed to Santa Barbara for a splendid performance at The Granada Theatre.

Granada Theater c Sali Wyn Ryan 1

© Sali-Wyn Ryan


© Victoria Webber

Granada Theatre

© Rebecca Rimmington

Thursday 18 January was another jam-packed day. Players visited more schools in Costa Mesa, carrying out interactive sessions with pupils, as well as coaching sessions and Q&As for young, aspiring musicians.

Then it was time for one last rehearsal before the first of a three-concert extravaganza in the breathtaking Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. A grand venue for a grand concert, the orchestra performed Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade - inspired by the tales of The Arabian Nights - and were joined by esteemed violinist, Anne Akiko Meyers, for an enchanting rendition of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto.

© Victoria Webber

Saturday 20 January, the orchestra returned to the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, but this time sharing the stage with the Philharmonic Society's Orange County Youth Symphony - a total of 132 musicians on stage! They performed a varied programme of Handel, Saint-Saëns, Brahms, and Brendan McBrien's Prologue for Brass and Percussion.

© Sali-Wyn Ryan

20 jan

© Rose Hooks

Some of the RPO players also enjoyed a scenic hike in Crystal Cove State Park.

Crystal Cove State Park c Peter Graham 3

Crystal Cove State Park c Peter Graham split

© Peter Graham

And second violin, Peter Graham, had a great time riding around in a Chevrolet truck!


© Peter Graham

On Sunday 21 January, it was off to Northridge for another magical night of music, this time at The Soraya. Championing the works of female composers, Isata-Kanneh Mason performed Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto. The RPO also performed Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.6, 'Pathétique'an emotional work which was premiered in 1893, just nine days before the composer’s death. A poignant programme to mark the end of our first week of the tour.

Soraya 2

Soraya 4 1

Soraya 4

© Rose Hooks

In the second week of the RPO USA Tour, the orchestra is headed to the Midwest and the East Coast! Stay tuned for more content and be sure to follow our socials for live updates on Facebook and Instagram.

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.