Beethoven Plaque Unveiling in Regent Street

11 Aug 2013

At midday on Sunday 11 August, a Westminster City Council Green Plaque was unveiled at the site of the first UK performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. in London's Regent Street.

The RPS and the City of Westminster have unveiled a green plaque to commemorate the site of a major landmark in British musical history: the first UK performance of the world’s most famous and enduring symphony – Beethoven’s ‘choral’ 9th Symphony.

The plaque was unveiled to mark the Bicentenary of the Royal Philharmonic Society [RPS], which commissioned Beethoven’s masterwork in 1822.  The Philharmonic Society, conducted by founder member Sir George Smart, gave the first UK performance on 21 March 1825 at the New Argyll Rooms, John Nash’s collection of concert rooms, which stood on the spot from 1820 -1830 of what is now the Regent Street branch of NatWest Bank. The Society itself, which remains the authoritative voice of classical music for composers, performers and audiences, was founded in nearby Manchester Street and its offices are still based in Westminster.

The plaque was unveiled by Royal Philharmonic Society Chairman, John Gilhooly and Councillor Michael Brahams, Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London

The unveilingwas marked with the performance of a new fanfare, specially commissioned from Bertie Baigent, a young composer from the National Youth Orchestra and performed by players from the NYO.

The  celebration formed part of a day celebrating the RPS and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony culminating in a performance of the work by the National Youth Orchestra and National Youth Choir at a special free BBC Prom and the world premiere of  a specially commissioned new work, Mark-Anthony Turnage's Frieze, which was inspired by Beethoven's great symphony.

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Beethoven and the Philharmonic Society

11 August 2013

OUR MEMBERS

Ricardo Castro: International pianist who established a flourishing youth music programme in Bahià, Brazil. Awarded RPS Honorary Membership in 2013.

DID YOU KNOW?

In early Philharmonic Society concerts, players often rotated within their orchestral section, reflecting the orchestra's wealth of performing talent as well as its democratic ethos: no ‘distinction of rank’.