200 Years of Commissioning - 2013 Works Announced

11 Sep 2012

The Royal Philharmonic Society is pleased to announce 16 new commissions to mark our Bicentenary in 2013.

In the past ten years, the Royal Philharmonic Society has commissioned new music from over 60 composers – from the centenarian Elliott Carter to the brightest talent of a new generation. 

16 new commissions will be the foundation stone of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Bicentenary Year in 2013.

New works from Harrison Birtwistle, Magnus Lindberg, Wolfgang Rihm, Richard Rodney Bennett, Poul Ruders and Judith Weir, co-commissioned with the Britten-Pears Foundation will jointly mark the RPS’s Bicentenary and the Centenary of Benjamin Britten’s birth . For the project, initiated by RPS Trustee Colin Matthews, who is also BPF’s Music Director, the composers will write for different ensembles to reflect the range of Britten’s composition output, including symphony orchestra, children’s choir and tenor with piano.

Further new commissions include 2013 performances of two new orchestral works by Huw Watkins, the RPS/PRS for Music Foundation Composer in the House at the Orchestra of the Swan, two new works by the recipient of the RPS Elgar Bursary for mature composers, Jonathan Lloyd, performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, five commissions from young composers performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra and at Cheltenham and Presteigne Festivals; and a new work for dance by Kenneth Hesketh supported by the RPS Drummond Fund. 

A highlight of the season will be the premiere of a major new RPS/BBC/New York Philharmonic co-commission, inspired by Beethoven’s
Ninth Symphony,and performed by the National Youth Orchestra at the BBC Proms.

John Gilhooly, Chairman of the Royal Philharmonic Society, comments: 

“The founding fathers of the Philharmonic Society were determined to make a case for serious music, or as they put it ‘that species of music which called forth the efforts and displayed the genius of the greatest masters.’  Composers were, and remain, at the heart of the society’s mission to champion musical excellence, creativity and understanding. 

The RPS awarded Benjamin Britten its highest honour, the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal, in 1964.  It is therefore particularly fitting that we should mark our Bicentenary, and the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten in 2013 by joining forces with the Britten-Pears Foundation to commission new pieces from some of the world’s finest composers.  These are major works which we hope will find a lasting place in the classical repertoire, just as Britten’s extraordinary musical legacy continues to resonate so strongly today.”

RPS 200



Lincoln Abbotts, ABRSM: The RPS is a fantastic, entrepreneurial force with which I am proud to be associated. What clearer ambition can there be than to create a future for music?


An early member of the Society, who played in our first season in 1813, was the Afro-European violinist George Polgreen Bridgetower (1778-1860) – the original dedicatee of Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata.