Travelling state to state and city to city, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) enjoyed another busy week of touring in the USA. Led by our music director Vasily Petrenko and joined by British pianist and former RPO Artist-in-Residence Isata Kanneh-Mason, the Orchestra performed in some amazing venues across the Midwest and the East Coast.

Read on to see some snapshots from the second leg of the RPO USA Tour...


On Tuesday 23 January, the Orchestra arrived at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri, for a final rehearsal before the evening's show. And what a show it was! The concert began with Debussy's Danse, a lively and engaging piece which was originally titled 'Tarantelle Styrienne', highlighting its connection to the Italian tarantella dance. This was followed by a rendition of Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No.3, performed by Isata Kanneh-Mason before the Orchestra closed the evening with Rachmaninov's sumptuous Second Symphony.

© Matthew Oshida

kansas 2© Patrick Flanaghan

kansas 4 new© Fraser Gordon

On Wednesday 24 January, we were off to Iowa, where the players were greeted with icy temperatures and a blanket of snow. After warming up their instruments (and their hands), they performed another marvellous concert in the Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa. The programme featured the same pieces from the previous night, with Isata Kanneh-Mason gracing the stage once again. In an interview with The Gazette, Isata shared her thoughts on Prokofiev's concerto, stating “There’s a lot of rhythmic excitement, there’s a lot of question-and-answer between the piano and the orchestra, and sometimes it’s like the piano and the orchestra are sort of battling. And sometimes they’re very much in harmony — there’s lots of interesting harmonies". Click here to read the full interview.

Iowa© Peter Graham

Iowa 2© Peter Graham

Iowa City c Victoria Webber© Victoria Webber

One flight and a bus ride later, the Orchestra arrived in New York City for a grand concert at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts on Friday 26 January. This show featured Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade - a symphonic suite based on a collection of Middle Eastern folktales which is one of the composer's last three major orchestral works. The players also had time to explore some of the city, visiting the Intrepid Museum in West Manhattan and marvelling at some magnificent views.

greenvale 2© Sali-Wyn Ryan

new york city© Peter Graham

greenvale© Peter Graham

greenvale museum© Peter Graham

On Sunday 28 January, it was off to Fairfax, Virginia, to deliver another enchanting night of Debussy, Prokofiev and Rimsky-Korsakov at the Center for the Arts. You can watch the performance yourself on Mason Arts Amplified from February 22 to March 21 2024.

Our First Violins also enjoyed a post-concert meal at the popular American restaurant franchise, Cheesecake Factory. 

fairfax© Adriana Iacovache-Pana

And Second Violinist Sali-Wyn Ryan conducted an interview with our guest Second Violinist for the tour, Matthew Oshida, who shared insights into what it's like to tour with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Monday 29 January, the Orchestra landed in Athens, Georgia, for its first performance in 12 years at the University of Georgia in the Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall. With a programme featuring Clara Schumann's dramatic piano concerto, Mendelssohn’s lyrical The Hebrides, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s dazzling Scheherazade, it was definitely a night to remember. Vasily Petrenko opened the concert with a speech reflecting on the RPO's mission to place orchestral music at the heart of contemporary society, exclaiming “We all share the same curiosity for music, for new venues, for delivering our music to all different classes of society, all different people". Read TheRed&Black's full review of the concert here.

 Second violins © Sali-Wyn Ryan

athens© Jonathan Ayling

Woodwind c Fraser Gordon© Fraser Gordon

Athens GA story compilation

Tuesday 30 January marked the final day of the RPO USA Tour, and what better way to end it than with a heartfelt performance in the beautiful Wait Chapel at Wake Forest University, North Carolina? It was the perfect send-off, with the Orchestra and Isata Kanneh-Mason dazzling a US audience for one last time, even performing an encore of Alexander Glazunov's Raymonda SuSuite with the Dance of the Arabian Boys/Entry of the Saracens.

wait chapel© Peter Graham

wait chapel 3© Sali-Wyn Ryan

wait chapel 2© Rebecca Rimmington

Wake Forest story compilation


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