Delving into the past, looking to the future

05 Jul 2018

As he begins his new role, RPS Chief Executive James Murphy delves into the Society’s past to find inspiration for its future (via Classical Music Magazine).

"As a Classical Music reader, you’ll surely know about the Royal Philharmonic Society.

You’ll know about its annual music awards which set a vital benchmark sector-wide for excellence and innovation. You’ll know of its gold medal, presented to inspirational icons like Jessye Norman most recently, and countless luminaries past from Brahms, Elgar and Shostakovich to Hess, Ferrier and Menuhin. You’ll likely know it champions exceptional young artists bound to join such ranks in years to come, giving them the helping hand they need to find their voice and make their mark. You’ll know its illustrious record for commissioning music too, including a certain choral symphony by one Ludwig van Beethoven 194 years ago.

But that’s only part of the story. As I prepare to take the reins of this extraordinary organisation in July, asking where we might take it in future, I felt it essential to cast myself back to its very beginning, and learn how it all started."

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In 2002 the Society sold its historic archive of papers, letters and musical manuscripts to the British Library, where it is now open to the public from all over the world.