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.’

The RPS and the RPO

People sometimes ask us why the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra shares a title with the Royal Philharmonic Society. There’s a rather good story behind it…