A wide shot of Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and mass chorus Royal Albert Hall with a full audience
© Andy Paradise

Building on a very successful partnership formalised in 2019, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) and the Royal Albert Hall (RAH) today announce that the RPO’s status as the Hall’s Associate Orchestra will be extended to 2029.

Following the news that Vasily Petrenko has extended his contract as Music Director of the RPO until 2030, and the appointment of Joe Hisaishi as the Orchestra’s Composer-in-Association, the continuation of the RPO’s close working relationship with the Royal Albert Hall will allow both organisations to build on their shared mission to broaden artistic programmes and the audiences for orchestral music at the Hall.

The move comes at a time when new national research commissioned by the RPO reveals that the number of people that would like to experience an orchestral concert is on the rise, with tastes for concert formats diversifying. Compared to 2018, more people expressed an interest in experiencing live performances of music from musicals, film soundtracks, pop/classical crossover, TV soundtracks, family-friendly concerts, and video game soundtracks. As a result, the new and emerging audience for orchestral music is now bigger than the long-established audience. The RPO’s data suggests that more than half (54%) of today’s orchestral audience comprises people who are starting or evolving a journey of musical discovery, compared with 31% of people who categorise themselves as long-established classical music enthusiasts.

The partnership will also strengthen the Royal Albert Hall’s position as the home of classical music in London. Beyond being home to the world’s biggest classical music festival - the BBC Proms – the Royal Albert Hall will host major concerts as part of the RPO’s 2024/5 season, including a series of large-scale concerts that befit one of the most world’s most iconic venues for live music. In May 2025, Vasily Petrenko and the RPO will be joined at the Hall by two of the most celebrated names in classical music, pianist Yunchan Lim and violinist Maxim Vengerov. In addition, the Orchestra will continue to explore a broad spectrum of orchestral music with concerts including: Let's Face the Music, A Celebration of Motown, ABBAphonic, and American Classics, as well as the return of John Rutter’s ever-popular Christmas Celebration.

James Williams, Managing Director at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra comments: “The sheer diversity of our concerts at the Royal Albert Hall enables us to present the joy of orchestral music to the broadest possible audience. Over the past few weeks alone, the RPO and Vasily Petrenko have performed Wagner’s Grand Festival and Verdi’s dramatic Requiem; we’ve performed to a packed house with the Croatian cellist Hauser, and our much-loved Film Music Gala returned to the Royal Albert Hall for two performances last weekend. This exciting and diverse programming presents the inclusive face of orchestral music for today’s world - and we are delighted to be continuing our partnership at the Royal Albert Hall, and to be working with colleagues who share our passion for inclusivity, innovation and excellence.”

Matthew Todd, Director of Programming at the Royal Albert Hall said: “We are immensely pleased to be continuing our relationship with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. With 750,000 people experiencing the thrill of listening to a live orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in 2023, our partnership will help us in our ambition to share orchestral music with as wide an audience as possible. We are excited to be working with the RPO to increase participation in classical music, aiming to welcome new audiences as well as collaborate on education and outreach initiatives in support of our respective engagement programmes.”

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