Welcome to our 2020/21 season. I wish you and your family good health and wellbeing during these challenging times. Despite the issues facing our world right now, I believe that music and its power to heal and bring people together are more important than ever. And that’s why we are pleased to be announcing our plans for 2020-21, although we know that the challenges we are currently facing will continue for some time.
As I enter my final season as Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, it seems a good time to reflect on my 15 years with this magnificent orchestra in this truly unique city. I have tremendous pride in what we have achieved together, Orchestra, choirs and audiences.
There are so many memories that I will cherish from these years...
I’ve been privileged to conduct premieres of works by some of the world’s most talented composers, including Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Sir John Tavener and Philip Glass. The recordings we’ve made together have been very important to me. The complete Shostakovich, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky symphonic cycles, the Stravinsky ballets, the Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov Piano Concerto recordings, to name just a few.
Our tours which took the Orchestra to Japan with our great friend Nobu for the first time, and China, were a welcome chance to show the world the quality of our Orchestra.
When I think back to my first concerts here as Chief Conductor in 2006 and where Liverpool Philharmonic is now, the difference is astonishing.
It’s wonderful that our beautiful Liverpool Philharmonic Hall has had a new lease of life with its refurbishment in 2014. And that Liverpool is now, rightly, a designated UNESCO City of Music. The city itself has undergone a transformation during my time here, with 2008 as the European Capital of Culture, which helped to recognize that ‘culture is the ‘rocket fuel’ of our city’, as Mayor Joe Anderson says!
The establishment of programmes like In Harmony Liverpool, the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Company, our work
in supporting our musicians’ health and wellbeing, and our partnership with the NHS, has defined, for me, what it means to be a music organisation in the 21st century. I believe Liverpool Philharmonic has been a leader in taking music to everyone in our city.
I’m very touched to have been made a ‘Citizen of Honour of the City of Liverpool’ as well as an ‘Honorary Scouser’.
Liverpool, this orchestra, and you, our devoted audiences and supporters, will always hold a very special place in my heart, and I am immensely grateful for your support.
I’m confident in the bright future of the Orchestra, it will continue to develop as one of this country’s greatest ensembles. It has been my immense joy to be a small part of its 180 year history and I will look forward to returning in my new role, from 2021, as Conductor Laureate. I can’t wait to see you all again in person!
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