Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
The RPO was started just after World War II, in 1946, by the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. Beecham did not start to get his players together until three weeks before the first concert which took place in Croydon on September 15, 1946. Beecham was principal conductor until his death in 1961.
Beecham controlled all the organization of the orchestra. After Beecham’s death, the orchestra was made into a self-governing group, like the other London orchestras. They went through some difficult years. In 1963 the Royal Philharmonic Society decided they would stop asking the RPO to play for their concerts, and in Glyndebourne, where the RPO had played for the opera since 1948, the London Philharmonic Orchestra became the resident orchestra instead. Sir Malcolm Sargent helped the orchestra to put on its own concerts at a cinema in north London.
The orchestra had made an agreement with the Royal Philharmonic Society about the concerts it would play. This meant it could call itself “Royal”. In the 1960s the work they were doing no longer allowed them to call themselves “Royal”, so in 1966 the Queen officially gave them the title “Royal”.
The orchestra made many recordings with Sir Thomas Beecham. In 1964 Igor Stravinsky recorded his opera "The Rake's Progress" with the RPO. From 1964 to 1979 they recorded many Gilbert and Sullivan operas with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company.
The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra is part of the same organization. They spend their time playing lighter classical music. The RPO have also worked with pop music groups and has given its own series of children’s concerts. In 2007 they announced a series of free educational workshops for the local community.
- Royal Philharmonic Orchestra official website