Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Infobox musical artist
Name = Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Img_size = 200
Landscape = yes
Background = classical_ensemble
Alias = RPO
Origin = flagicon|UK London, England, United Kingdom
Genre = Classical
Occupation = Symphony orchestra
Years_active = 1946-"present"
Associated_acts = Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra
URL = []
Current_members = Music Director
Daniele Gatti
Principal Guest Conductor
Leonard Slatkin
Principal Associate Conductor
Owain Arwel Hughes
Conductor Laureate
Yuri Temirkanov
Past_members = Founder
Sir Thomas Beecham
Notable_instruments =

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) is a British orchestra based in London. It tours widely, and is sometimes referred to as “Britain's national orchestra”.


The RPO was founded in 1946 by Sir Thomas Beecham and played its first concert in Croydon on September 15, 1946. Beecham was principal conductor until his death in 1961. He was followed by then assistant conductor Rudolf Kempe, who was given the title of Conductor for Life in 1970. Subsequent musical directors and principal conductors have been Antal Doráti, Walter Weller, André Previn, Vladimir Ashkenazy. Yuri Temirkanov was appointed principal conductor in 1992. Daniele Gatti became the RPO's music director in 1996. He will step down from this post in 2009 and become Conductor Laureate. In 2009, Charles Dutoit will become the Orchestra's artistic director and principal conductor. [cite news | url= | title=Charles Dutoit takes over Royal Philharmonic Orchestra | publisher=Gramophone | author=Martin Cullingford | date=20 Apr 2007 | accessdate=2007-04-28]

The orchestra toured the United States in 1950, thus becoming the first British orchestra to visit America since the London Symphony Orchestra in 1912.

A Review of the orchestral scene of 1950 said of the RPO:

:Leader David McCallum … Royal Philharmonic Society concerts (Beecham 4, Celibidache, Sargent). Number of concerts: 32 (approx)…. The Philharmonia and Royal Philharmonic share a very serious disability: that neither is a permanently constituted orchestra. Both assemble and disperse more or less at random…there is no style which is distinctively RPO or Philharmonia. [cite book | last=Hill | first=Ralph (ed) | coauthors= | title=Music 1951 | location=Harmondsworth, England | publisher=Penguin Books | year=1951 | oclc=26147349]

Later the orchestra began to develop its own character, particularly in the woodwind section, led by Jack Brymer (clarinet), Gwydion Brooke (bassoon), Terence McDonagh (oboe), and Gerald Jackson (flute), sometimes referred to as ‘The Royal Family’. [cite paper | url= | author=Lyndon Jenkins | title=Bizet: Symphony in C/L'Arlésienne Suites 1 & 2 | version=724356723122 | publisher=EMI Classics | year=2000 | format=CD liner notes]

After Beecham’s death, the orchestra reorganised itself as a self-governing limited company. and soon encountered difficulties. [cite book | last=Arts Council of Great Britain | pages=p. 9 | title=Report Orchestral Resources in Great Britain | location=London | publisher=The Arts Council | year=1970 | isbn=011981062X ] The Royal Philharmonic Society decided not to engage the RPO for its concerts in 1963, Glyndebourne engaged the London Philharmonic instead of the RPO from 1964 onwards and the management of the Royal Festival Hall also severed its connections with the orchestra. Some senior players left, and Kempe resigned as chief conductor, though he returned shortly afterwards. Helped by strong support from Sir Malcolm Sargent the orchestra successfully mounted its own concerts at a cinema in the London inner suburb, Swiss Cottage. cite book | last=Reid | first=Charles | pages=pp. 429-434 | title=Malcolm Sargent a biography | location=London | publisher=Hamish Hamilton Ltd | year=1968 | isbn=0800850807]

A further threat to the orchestra's existence came in 1984, when a review carried out on behalf of the Arts Council by the journalist William Rees-Mogg opined that England lacked 'a great eastern symphony orchestra': the suggestion was that the RPO should move to Nottingham. However, another Arts Council report of the same period recommended that the RPO should supplement the London Symphony Orchestra as resident orchestra at the Barbican Centre; neither proposal came to fruition.cite book | last=Morrison| first=Richard| pages=p. 152| title=Orchestra| location=London | publisher=Faber| year=2004| isbn=057121584x]

In 1992 the orchestra appointed Peter Maxwell Davies as associate conductor and composer of the RPO. The same year, UEFA commissioned the orchestra to sing the UEFA Champions League Hymn

On April 7, 1994, the Royal Philharmonic under the direction of Sir Gilbert Levine performed at the Vatican in the historic "Papal Concert to Commemorate the Holocaust," with cellist Lynn Harrell and Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss as narrator.

In July 2008 it was announced that the RPO would continue its residency in Lowestoft for a fifth year. Bringing four concerts a year to England's most easterly town.


From its earliest days to the end of Beecham's life, the RPO made numerous recordings for Columbia Records, RCA Victor, and EMI under his baton. Among their first stereophonic recordings was the 1955 performance of the symphonic poem "Tapiola" by Sibelius, recorded by EMI. Some of the more memorable recordings included:

*Beethoven Ruins of Athens, Symphony No 2, Symphony No 3, Symphony No 6, Symphony No 7, Symphony No 8
*Berlioz Harold in Italy, King Lear Overture, Le Corsaire Overture, Les Francs-Juges Overture, Les Troyens Overture, Roman Carnival Overture, Symphonie Fantastique, Trojan March, Waverley Overture
*Bizet Carnaval à Rome, La Jolie Fille de Perth suite, L'Arlésienne Suites 1 & 2, Patrie Overture, Boccherini Overture in D, Borodin Polovtsian Dances
*Chabrier España, Joyeuse Marche
*Debussy Cortège & Air de danse, Prélude à l'après midi
*Delibes Le Roi s'amuse
*Delius Brigg Fair, Dance Rhapsody No 2, Fennimore & Gerda Intermezzo, Florida Suite Daybreak & Dance, Irmelin Prelude, On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, Sleighride, Song Before Sunrise, Summer Evening, Summer Night on the River
*Dvořák Legend in G minor, Symphony No 8
*Goldmark Rustic Wedding Symphony
*Gounod Faust ballet music, Le sommeil de Juliette
*Grétry Zémire et Azore ballet music
*Grieg Symphonic dance in A
*Handel Amaryllis, Love in Bath, Messiah, Solomon, The Faithful Shepherd, The Gods Go A'Begging
*Haydn Symphonies 93–104, The Seasons
*Gustav Holst The Planets Suite + St. Paul's Suite
*Lalo Symphony
*Massenet Last sleep of the Virgin, Waltz from Cendrillon
*Mendelssohn Fair Melusine Overture, Symphony No 4, Italian
*Mozart Clarinet Concerto, Mozart Die Zauberflöte Overture, Flute & Harp Concerto, German Dance K605, Haffner March K249, Haffner March K249, Minuet from Divertimento in D K131, Symphony No 41, Thamos Entr'acte, The Seraglio.
*Mussorgsky Khovantschina Dance of the Persian Slaves
*Offenbach Les Contes des Hoffman suite
*Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op. 43 with Yuri Temirkanov as the conductor.
*Rimsky Korsakov Scheherazade
*Rossini, La Gazza Ladra Overture, Le Cambiale di Matrimonio Overture, Semiramide Overture
*Saint Saens Rouet d'Omphale, Samson & Dalila Dance of the Priestesses/ Bacchanale
*Schubert Symphony No 1, Symphony No 2, Symphony No 3, Symphony No 5, Symphony No 6, Symphony No 8
*Sibelius Valse Triste, Symphonies 6 and 7
*Smetana Bartered Bride Overture & Polka
*Strauss Ein Heldenleben
*Suppe Morning Noon & Night in Vienna, Poet & Peasant Overture
*Tchaikovsky Eugene Onegin - waltz, Symphony No 4
*Vidal Zino-Zina Gavotte
*Wagner Die Meistersinger Suite, Flying Dutchman Overture, Götterdämmerung Funeral March and Rhine Journey, Lohengrin Prelude, Parsifal Karfreitagszauber, Die Meistersinger Prelude

In 1964 Igor Stravinsky recorded his opera The Rake's Progress with the RPO. From 1964 to 1979 the RPO was engaged by Decca Records to record the Gilbert and Sullivan operas with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company.

In 1986 the orchestra launched RPO Records, claimed to be 'the world's first record label to be owned by a symphony orchestra. [Notes to CD TRP024 on the RPO Record label]

As well as performing works from the classical repertoire, the RPO has recorded a number of film scores, including those for Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's "The Red Shoes" and "The Tales of Hoffmann".

An extensive collection of budget-priced CDs recorded by the RPO has been released by The International Music Company AG in Germany. These CDs are mainly available on the European market.

Conducting leadership

*Thomas Beecham (1946-1961)
*Rudolf Kempe (1962-1975)
*Antal Doráti (1975-1978)
*Walter Weller (1980-1985)
*André Previn (1985-1992)
*Vladimir Ashkenazy (1987-1994)
*Yuri Temirkanov (1992-1998)
*Daniele Gatti (1996-"present")

Non-classical work

Associated with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, currently managed by Elli Appleby, which is devoted to playing lighter classics. It was formed in 1987, in succession to the Royal Philharmonic Pops Orchestra. [CD TRP024 op cit]

RPO players have been involved with many performances away from the classical repertory, including "Yanni Live at the Acropolis", a concert held in Greece in 1993, conducted by Shardad Rohani; the "Hooked on Classics" series of records; orchestral arrangements of rock music by the likes of Pink Floyd, Oasis, Queen, U2, and ABBA; the song/album, "Art of Life" by Japanese rock band X Japan, composed by Yoshiki Hayashi; the official theme music of the UEFA Champions League; tracks on the British folk metal band Skyclad's 2004 album "A Semblance of Normality"; the [ Symphonic Rock: A Symphony of Hits 2004 album] ; and the BBC Grandstand Theme in 1982.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra scored a #10 hit single in the United States in 1981-82 with the song, "Hooked On Classics."

The orchestra recorded the theme for Radio Mercury, who were also patrons of a number of concerts.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will score the scores from the traditional animated film versions of "Phantom Manor" (with John Debney), "Pirates of the Caribbean" (with Hans Zimmer), "Star Tours" (with John Williams), "" (with Graeme Revell), and "Captain EO" (with James Horner); also with Elton John will perform his songs, "Candle in the Wind", "Someday Out of the Blue" from "The Road to El Dorado", and "Written in the stars" from "Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida" (with LeAnn Rimes); and also in the Live concert at Disney Cruise Line with conductor James Levine will perform "Enchanted Suite" from "Enchanted", the End Credits from "The Rescuers Down Under", "My Funny Friend and Me" from "The Emperor's New Groove", "Colors of the Wind" from "Pocahontas", the Theme Songs from "Darkwing Duck", "DuckTales", "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers", and " Gargoyles", the End Credits from "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", "With a Few Good Friends" from "Piglet's Big Movie" (with Carly Simon), "Down to Earth" from "WALL-E" (with Peter Gabriel and The Soweto Gospel Choir), "No Way Out" (with Phil Collins) and "Transformation" (with The Bulgarian Women's Choir) from "Brother Bear", and "Remember... Dreams Come True".

ee also

*Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
*UEFA Champions League Hymn
*UEFA Champions League


External links

*Royal Philharmonic Orchestra [ official website]

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