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Liverpool Philharmonic, one of the UK’s most forward-looking music organisations.

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra is the oldest surviving professional symphony orchestra and the second oldest concert-giving organisation in the UK.

Beginnings

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra is the UK’s oldest surviving professional symphony orchestra and the second oldest concert-giving organisation in the UK. The origins of the Orchestra’s concert series date back to the formation of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society, which administers it, by a group of Liverpool music lovers in 1840. Liverpool Philharmonic has remained at the heart of Liverpool’s cultural life ever since.

Here and Now

As well as the Orchestra, Liverpool Philharmonic includes the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, the contemporary music group Ensemble 10/10, the Chamber Music Series, Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Youth Choirs, and an extensive learning programme. It also runs the Grade II listed Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, one of the UK’s premier arts and entertainment venues, presenting a wide-ranging programme featuring many international artists.

The Orchestra gives over sixty concerts each season in its home, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, and in recent seasons world premiere performances have included major works by Sir John Tavener, Karl Jenkins, Michael Nyman and Jennifer Higdon, alongside works by Liverpool composers including John McCabe, Emily Howard, Gary Carpenter, Mark Simpson and Kenneth Hesketh.

Collaborations with international artists from rock, pop and roots music include Sir Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Liverpool electronica group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, and West African kora player Toumani Diabaté.

Liverpool Philharmonic has championed new music throughout its history. Our new music group Ensemble 10/10 focuses exclusively on contemporary music and Liverpool Philharmonic has commissioned many composers to write music especially for the ensemble.

Conductors

The dynamic young Russian Vasily Petrenko was appointed Principal Conductor of the Orchestra in September 2006 and in September 2009 became Chief Conductor until 2015. He joins a distinguished line of musicians who have led the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra during its illustrious history including Max Bruch, Sir Charles Hallé, Sir Henry Wood, Sir Malcolm Sargent, Sir John Pritchard, Sir Charles Groves, Walter Weller, David Atherton, Marek Janowski, Libor Pešek KBE, Petr Altrichter and Gerard Schwarz.

Far and Wide

Liverpool Philharmonic has long been a unique ambassador for Liverpool through its extensive touring schedule. The Orchestra made its first international tour to Germany and Switzerland in 1966 with its then Principal Conductor, Sir Charles Groves, and now tours widely throughout the UK and internationally, most recently touring to China, Switzerland, France, Spain, Germany, Romania and the Czech Republic. Browse the Orchestra on Tour page to find out about current and future tour dates.

Recordings

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra currently has one of the most significant recording programmes of any orchestra worldwide. Recent additions to an extensive and critically acclaimed recording catalogue include Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony, the 2009 Classic FM/Gramophone Awards Orchestral Recording of the Year, the world premiere performance of Sir John Tavener’s Requiem, the first six discs of an ongoing Shostakovich cycle, of which the recording of Symphony No. 10 is the 2011 Gramophone Awards Orchestral Recording of the Year, Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances, Symphony No. 3, and Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3 and 1 & 4 with Simon Trpčeski, all conducted by Vasily Petrenko.

In 1998 the Orchestra became the first in the UK orchestra to launch its own recording label, RLPO Live. Many RLPO Live recordings are currently being reissued by Avie Records. A number of recordings also feature the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir.

Learning

Liverpool Philharmonic has been working with schools and the community through its orchestral programme since the 1940s, when Sir Malcolm Sargent first introduced a concert series for schools. Today, our Learning programme offers a range of exciting and inspirational opportunities to get involved in live music-making of the highest quality for thousands of people every year, including over 22,000 local children and young people. Activities are led by members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and our expert team of music leaders.

Flagship programmes include the annual schools’ concerts series, reaching 24,000 children, and the Department for Education funded project In Harmony, an intensive, daily music-making programme for children in West Everton in Liverpool. Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra enjoys close links with the orchestra.

Find out more about our extensive Learning programme here.

Classic FM Partnership

The Orchestra is celebrating 11 years as The Classic FM Orchestra in North West England. The ground-breaking partnership with the UK’s biggest commercial radio station has successfully built new audiences for classical music and was recognised with the Sustained Partnership Award in the Arts & Business Awards 2010. Find out more about Liverpool Philharmonic’s partnership with Classic FM here.

Honours

In 1957, the Liverpool Philharmonic Society and Orchestra, as they were called then, acquired the title ‘Royal’. A year later, Her Majesty the Queen became Patron – a role she has retained ever since. In 1989 the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society and Orchestra received an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University and in 1991 were the first organisations to be granted the Freedom of the City of Liverpool. A further honour of Meritorious Service was granted by the City of Liverpool in 1997.

Awards

Liverpool Philharmonic has been proud and delighted to win a number of prestigious awards recognising every aspect of our work.

2012

Classic BRIT Awards
Best Male Artist - Vasily Petrenko

German ECHO Classic Awards
Young Talent - Vasily Petrenko

Liverpool City Region Annual Tourism Awards
Culture & Heritage Experience of the Year - Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

British Composer Awards
Chamber Music Award - Ian Gardiner Spinning and Weaving
Commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
World premiere performance performed by Ensemble 10/10 on 25 January 2012 at The Cornerstone, Liverpool Hope University College

Liverpool City Region Annual Tourism Awards
Culture & Heritage Experience of the Year - Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

The Liverpool Post Leaders Awards
Cultural Leader of the Year - Vasily Petrenko

2011

Gramophone Awards
Orchestral Recording of the Year - Shostakovich Symphony No. 10
Vasily Petrenko/Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Royal Society for Public Health Arts and Health Awards
Special Commendation for Innovative and Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Arts and Health Practice, Liverpool Philharmonic and Mersey Care NHS Trust

International Eisteddfod
Bronze Medal - Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir

Classical BRIT Awards with NS&I
Male Artist of the Year - Vasily Petrenko

2010

Diapason d’Or de l’année
Rachmaninov Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 3
Vasily Petrenko/Simon Trpčeski, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

International Classical Music Awards 
Shostakovich Symphony No. 8, Vasily Petrenko/Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Arts & Business Awards
Sustained Partnership Award - Classic FM and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

Arts & Business North Awards
Sustained Partnership Award - Classic FM and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

Big Chip Awards
Best E- Learning Project - 'Things to Come' digital education project

2009

Classic FM Gramophone Awards
Orchestral Recording of the Year - Manfred Symphony/The Voyevoda, Vasily Petrenko/Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards
Ensemble of the Year - Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra & Ensemble 10/10;
Concert Series of the Year - Ensemble 10/10

British Interactive Media Association (BIMA) Awards
Offline Award and Special Awards for Visual & Audio Design - 'Things to Come' digital education project

The Mersey Partnership Tourism Awards
Best Performance Venue - Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Liverpool Business Awards
Culture Award - Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

2007

Classic FM Gramophone Awards
Young Artist of the Year – Vasily Petrenko

The Original Liverpool Sound: The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Story is the first major hardback book about Liverpool Philharmonic, published by Liverpool University Press. A wide range of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s recordings are available in the Online Shop.

Liverpool Philharmonic Archive Access Arrangements
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s archive is available to the public and is held at Liverpool Record Office, Central Library, William Brown Street, Liverpool L2 8EW. Further information about access arrangements and contact details can be found on the Liverpool Record Office website.

Hertiage Lottery Fund

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