Our Stories

Find out more about some of the significant moments in the history of the Royal Philharmonic Society.

Founding the Philharmonic

A short film about the early days of the Society in 1813

A Place for Music

John Nash, Regent Street and the Philharmonic Society of London.

Mendelssohn and the Philharmonic Society

'The 1844 performances under Mendelssohn’s leadership were greatly in demand – Queen Victoria attended on 10 June.’

The Society and Beethoven

‘I am now writing a new symphony for the Philharmonic Society, and hope to have it finished within two weeks.’ (Beethoven to Archduke Rudolf, 1 July 1823)

Beethoven Bust and the Gold Medal

The gift to the Society of Schaller’s bust of Beethoven, its arrival in London, and the realisation of the idea of a medal of merit are inextricably linked.

‘Rule Britannia’ and Wagner

Wagner later described the piece as one ‘calculated to make the most overwhelming effect’ - he even envisaged a military band joining the orchestra for the finale.

The RPS at War 1914-1918

The concerts of the 1914-15 seasons started at 8pm, but thereafter, with darkened streets and the risk of air raids, 6 or 6.15pm became the rule.

Klemperer and Oedipus Rex: a concert that never took place

‘It was agreed that a programme of ‘classical and modern works’ should be proposed to Klemperer, together with a fee of £80.’


Joseph Straker, double bassist studying at the Guildhall School: likes classical, jazz and salsa and the RPS Sir John Barbirolli Foundation which helped buy his new bass.


The RPS is over 200 years old, founded in 1813 ‘to promote the performance, in the most perfect manner possible, of the best and most approved instrumental music'.