Past Projects

Bicentenary Commissions

For its 200th birthday in 2013, the Society helped bring a number of significant new works into the world. Central among these was Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Frieze, inspired and partnered by Beethoven’s 9th Symphony which the Society also commissioned, performed at the BBC Proms together by the National Youth Orchestra. Further works by Harrison Birtwistle, Magnus Lindberg, Wolfgang Rihm, Poul Ruders, Judith Weir, Thea Musgrave, Sally Beamish, Anna Meredith and Charlotte Bray were co-commissioned with the Britten-Pears Foundation, also saluting the centenary of Benjamin Britten’s birth. Young composers under 25 were also invited to apply for a range of mini-commissions.

Composer in the House

Jointly-devised by the RPS and the PRS for Music Foundation, Composer in the House residencies enabled composers and performers to enjoy more time exploring and collaborating together than means usually allow, and for them to share the steps of their creative processes with audiences. Four two-year residencies were planned with regional UK orchestras: Stephen McNeff and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Kenneth Hesketh with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Anna Meredith with sinfonia ViVa, and Huw Watkins and the Orchestra of the Swan.


A collaboration with BBC Radio 3, Encore shone a light on existing works that caught the imagination in their world premiere but had not been heard since. It ran for a decade, bringing fresh recognition to a wide range of chamber and orchestral works. A similar endeavour now continues with the ABO and PRS for Music Foundation’s Resonate programme.


The RPS's first ever film and music commission, PULSE brought together two young artists British/Bulgarian composer Dobrinka Tabakova and Scottish film-maker Ruth Paxton to create a new work for the PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music Biennial in 2014.


Inspired by PULSE, the RPS joined forces with arts charity IdeasTap with a new initiative which offered five young filmmakers and five composers the chance to create their own short film/music collaborations.

Notes, Steps, Timelines and Collaborations

Made possible thanks to the RPS Drummond Fund, this initiative enabled eight young composers and choreographers from around the UK to spend focused time, at Rambert Dance studios, learning more about each other’s disciplines and approach and testing fresh ideas together.


Kathryn McDowell, Director, LSO: The RPS has been a meeting point for musicians, composers and audiences for 200 years and remains a passionate advocate for music today.


Their Mozart and Beethoven Sinfonias blazed like a comet in our musical atmosphere - Spectator review - Philharmonic Society Concert 1837