The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s (RPO) mission to enrich lives through orchestral experiences that are uncompromising in their excellence and inclusive in their appeal, places it at the forefront of music-making in the UK and internationally. Typically performing approximately 200 concerts a year and with a worldwide live and online audience of more than 60 million people, the Orchestra embraces a broad repertoire that enables it to reach the most diverse audience of any British symphony orchestra. Whilst artistic integrity remains paramount, the RPO is unafraid to push boundaries and is equally at home recording video game, film and television soundtracks and working with pop stars, as it is performing the great symphonic repertoire.
Throughout its history, the RPO has attracted and collaborated with the most inspiring artists and in August 2021, the Orchestra was thrilled to welcome Vasily Petrenko as its new Music Director. A landmark appointment in the RPO’s history, Vasily’s debut season with the RPO was lauded by audiences and critics alike. Highlights included a star-studded gala concert to mark the RPO’s 75th Anniversary (with soloists Sheku Kanneh-Mason MBE and Sir Bryn Terfel), performances at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival, and major tours to the USA, Germany and a host of prestigious European festivals. As Music Director of the RPO, Vasily Petrenko has joined a roster of titled conductors that comprises Pinchas Zukerman (Principal Guest Conductor), Alexander Shelley (Principal Associate Conductor) and Grzegorz Nowak (Permanent Associate Conductor).
The RPO is recognised as the UK’s most in-demand orchestra, an accolade that would have pleased Sir Thomas Beecham, who founded the Orchestra in 1946. As well as a busy schedule of national and international performances, the Orchestra enjoys an annual season of concerts in London’s Royal Albert Hall (where the RPO is Associate Orchestra), the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall and Cadogan Hall where it is Resident Orchestra. The 2022/23 Season takes as its theme Journeys of Discovery, exploring the emotions and struggles of what it means to be human through a kaleidoscope of orchestral masterpieces including Mahler’s three epic Choral Symphonies, Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Scriabin’s The Poem of Ecstasy, Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto and Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral. The Season will also feature extensive European touring, visits to Japan and South Korea, and collaborations with guest artists including Isata Kanneh-Mason, Sir Andrew Davis, Chloé van Soeterstède, Arabella Steinbacher, Nobuyuki Tsujii, Shiyeon Sung, Simon Trpčeski, Narek Hakhnazaryan and many others.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s mission is to place orchestral music at the heart of contemporary society and, through collaboration with creative partners, foster deeper engagement with communities to ensure that live orchestral music is accessible to as inclusive and diverse an audience as possible. To help achieve this, in 1993 the Orchestra launched RPO Resound, which has grown to become the most innovative and respected orchestral community and education programme in the UK and internationally. In 2024, the Orchestra will move its headquarters to Wembley Park in the London Borough of Brent; this will be the realisation of its long-held ambition to embed the Orchestra in a community, in line with its mission to be a truly inclusive and contemporary international orchestra for the modern age.
The Orchestra has always been entrepreneurial; in 1986 it was the first UK orchestra to launch its own record label and it has gone on to embrace advances in digital technology, achieving well over 50 million streams of its recorded music each year. The RPO’s global online audience engages with it through the website and social media channels, where the Orchestra shares streamed performances, artist interviews, ‘behind-the-scenes’ insights and more.
Passion, versatility and uncompromising artistic standards are the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s hallmarks; as it looks forward to an exciting future with the patronage of HRH The former Prince of Wales and Vasily Petrenko as Music Director, it will continue to be recognised as one of the world’s most open-minded, forward-thinking and accessible symphony orchestras.