200 Years at the Heart of Music

The Royal Philharmonic Society celebrated 200 years in 2013.

In our rich history of music-making we have direct links to iconic musicians such as Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Wagner.

“It’s good to hear that the RPS is continuing to stir things up, and growing old disgracefully:  we need organisations like the RPS to remind us that young artists take time to develop, that composers require opportunities for their voices to be heard and that serious music and musicians are vital, and should be valued. Great artists never stop learning, and great musicians never stop listening." 

- Alfred Brendel, RPS Gold Medallist

Bicentenary celebrations throughout 2013 put the spotlight on the Society’s unparalleled contribution to music, past, present and future, including new commissions from leading and emerging composers; a nationwide programme of live performances, debates, exhibitions, broadcasts and an enhanced programme of practical support for young musicians. Digitisation of the RPS Archive at the British Library offers further insight into the RPS's legacy of two centuries of concert giving, while a new iPad app focuses on our most famous commission, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. 

Special Awards were made to five extraordinary musicians around the globe making music in challenged communities:Music Transforms Lives

To mark the RPS Bicentenary, Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate wrote a poem entitled Philharmonic.

Related Pages


Emily Hoile, harpist: studied at the Juilliard School in New York thanks to funding from the RPS Julius Isserlis Scholarship.


Queen Victoria attended a Philharmonic Society concert conducted by Mendelssohn in 1844.