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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Paul Hughes, General Manager, BBC Symphony Orchestra: Since 1979 when I won the RPS composition prize this amazing organisation has been part of my life, placing music at the heart of modern life.


Voting for the RPS Gold Medal is still carried out using the original 19th century yes/no voting box.