Acknowledged as one of the UK’s most prodigious orchestras, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) enjoys an international reputation for bringing audiences worldwide first-class performances and the highest possible standards of music-making across a diverse range of musical repertoire. This was the vision of the Orchestra’s flamboyant founder Sir Thomas Beecham, whose legacy is maintained today as the Orchestra thrives under the exceptional direction of its new Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, Maestro Charles Dutoit.
Since its formation in 1946, the Orchestra has been directed by some of the world’s finest conductors, most notably Rudolf Kempe, Antal Doráti, André Previn, Vladimir Ashkenazy and more recently Daniele Gatti. Other high-ranking conductors who regularly take the podium include Leonard Slatkin and Pinchas Zukerman as Principal Guest Conductors, Grzegorz Nowak as Principal Associate Conductor and Dirk Joeres and Garry Walker as Permanent Guest Conductors. Daniele Gatti continues his association with the Orchestra as Conductor Laureate.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is London-based and performs a prestigious series of concerts each year at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. The 2009-2010 season features Charles Dutoit, Renée Fleming, Vadim Repin, Chloë Hanslip and Freddy Kempf. The Orchestra’s London home is at Cadogan Hall, in the heart of the capital, just off Sloane Square. This idyllic location offers an intimate atmosphere for concert-goers, with the current series of concerts featuring Lara St John, Andrew Litton, Nicolae Moldoveanu and winner of the London International Piano Festival 2009, Behzod Abduraimov. Complementing the concert series at Cadogan Hall, the Orchestra regularly performs in the magnificent Royal Albert Hall, presenting works of great magnitude in a varied series of concerts, ranging from large-scale choral and orchestral works to themed evenings of contemporary popular repertoire, all designed to suit the immensity of this historic and grand venue.
Within the UK, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is committed to offering an extensive regional touring programme, with established residencies in Croydon, Northampton, Lowestoft, Reading and Crawley. The Orchestra also gives regular performances at other venues throughout the UK, including forthcoming engagements in Ipswich, High Wycombe and Dartford. As an international orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has toured more than thirty countries in the last five years. Recent tours have included performances in Egypt, Russia, Spain, Italy, Germany, the USA, China and the Far East, and the 2009-2010 season features extensive European tours under Charles Dutoit with artists including Martha Argerich, Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, Sol Gabetta and Nigel Kennedy; a major tour to Japan with Freddy Kempf and further concerts in Italy with Pinchas Zukerman. From 2010, the RPO holds the prestigious position of Resident Orchestra for the International Music Festival in Montreux, Switzerland.
The Orchestra is also recognised for its artistic work through a vibrant and innovative community and education programme, titled RPO resound. Specially trained members of the Orchestra, alongside accomplished project leaders, provide comprehensive workshops where music is used as a powerful and inspirational force. RPO resound prides itself on working in a wide variety of settings, including projects connected with homeless people, youth clubs, the probation service and terminally ill children.
Frequently found in the recording studio, the Orchestra records extensively for film and television as well as for all the major commercial record companies. The Orchestra also owns its own record label and is proud to be the first UK orchestra to stream its entire series of concerts live from Cadogan Hall.
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