For two hundred years, the Royal Philharmonic Society has been a major force in bringing new music - and lasting masterworks - to life.
Though many classical concerts comprise historical works, this was not always the case. For centuries, audiences flocked to hear the newest music, and the Royal Philharmonic Society was established in part to fulfil that appetite. The Society was central in bringing the latest music and greatest performers it Britain from the continent, not only giving many European works their first airing on these shores, but also commissioning new works outright. Since 1813, our commissions have included masterworks such as Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony and Saint-Saëns' Organ Symphony. We continue to commission a great range of works from talents both established and emerging.
The future prosperity of classical music lies in the hands of its young artists. Annually, we commission and champion a cohort of outstanding young composers whose fresh, imaginative voices deserve to be heard. Click here to find out more.
We work assiduously to raise funds in order to commission a range of venerable composers at key moments in their careers. As part of this, we are proud to have established the Elgar Bursary which recognises older composers who may particularly benefit from support to write a significant work.
Chamber Music and Song
A fruitful, ongoing partnership with BBC Radio 3 has created a series of over 40 new chamber works and songs for the outstanding talents of the BBC New Generation Artists.
Music for Dance
As long as there has been music, there has been dance. We are proud to help composers and choreographers bring exciting new works to life, through the RPS Drummond Fund in memory of the writer, broadcaster and lifelong dance aficionado Sir John Drummond CBE and his friend, the English born Diaghilev dancer, Lydia Sokolova. Further details can be found here.
It takes time and tremendous dedication for composers to write great music. We strive to ensure they are well remunerated for their efforts and, alongside this, work individually with emerging composers to ensure they have the confidence, skills and means to stride forward and find future opportunities for themselves. We can only do this with the help of our supporters: members of the Society, individual donors, trusts and corporate sponsors. You too can help us bring music to life. Click here to find out more.
Dame Fanny Waterman DBE, pianist, teacher and founder of the Leeds Piano Competition: awarded RPS Honorary Membership in 2011.
DID YOU KNOW?
The early directors and concert conductors were given tickets made of ivory to gain them admission to Philharmonic Society performances.