RPS and Beethoven

Music Past - Present - Future 

The iconic RPS Bust of Beethoven is a symbol of musical excellence, creativity and support for the living composer. Beethoven's image is also engraved on our highest honour for musicians - the Gold Medal

Beethoven's music featured from the first Philharmonic Society concert in 1813 and the Society went on to give many premieres of his works as well as commissioning the Ninth Symphony. Two years later, when the Society learnt that Beethoven was both ill and much in need of money, the Directors decided that a sum of £100 should be sent to him “to be applied to his comforts and necessities”. 

The bust was given to the Society in gratitude for the help we gave to Beethoven in his lifetime. It has traditionally stood on the platform at every RPS concert since 1871, and can still be seen at RPS events today as we continue to support the finest performers and most creative living composers.

To celebrate our 200th Birthday we sent Beethoven Bust out on to the streets of London:

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Colin Lawson, Director of the Royal College of Music: The dynamic cultural advocacy of the RPS makes an incalculable contribution to British musical life.


From 1819 the Society’s home was the Harmonic Institution built by John Nash in Regents Street. The building was destroyed by fire in 1830 and is now the site of a NatWest Bank.