The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra
The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra (RPCO) has delighted audiences worldwide with its versatile programming, having been in constant demand for live performances and recordings of classical, light classical and popular music since its formation in 1987. The RPCO has a deservedly excellent reputation for working with internationally-renowned artists ranging from opera luminaries Andrea Bocelli, Lesley Garrett, Bryn Terfel, Renée Fleming, Kiri Te Kanawa and the late Luciano Pavarotti to popular culture icons Burt Bacharach, George Benson, Michel Legrand, Henry Mancini, Sir Cliff Richard, Dionne Warwick and Stevie Wonder, to name but a few.
The diverse nature of the RPCO’s work has taken it into a variety of settings from the traditional – concert halls, stadiums and cathedrals – to the unorthodox – racecourses, botanical gardens and train stations. Its most frequently requested programmes include Classical Favourites, Magic of the Movies, Opera Gala and the ever-popular Last Night of the Proms.
Highlights of recent years have included London concerts with José Carreras, Diana Krall, Liza Minnelli, Randy Newman, the OperaBabes, Nicola Benedetti and reggae star John Holt, plus UK tours with Andrea Bocelli, Lesley Garrett, Chloë Hanslip and Russell Watson. Other special performances have included thirty-two shows with Sir Cliff Richard at the Royal Albert Hall, a season at Opera Holland Park, an appearance at Tina Turner’s Sixtieth Birthday Concert, performances of Aida at Earls Court with the late Luciano Pavarotti and UK tours of Bugs Bunny on Broadway, The Music of ELO and Symphonic Queen.
The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra’s 2009 performances included a number of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall including a St George’s Day Gala and an acclaimed 20 show production of the popular Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I, starring Maria Friedman. Highlights of the summer months included concerts at the Hampton Court Palace Festival, Rochester Castle and at Kenwood House Concert Bowl. The autumn season began with the RPCO joining comedian Barry Humphries (and his famous alter ego Dame Edna Everage) for a riotous UK tour of ‘Last Night of the Poms’! Other high profile performances later in the year included Carmina Burana at London’s Royal Albert Hall in October and two Christmas concerts alongside Il Divo and Vanessa Mae at the Hammersmith Apollo. The RPCO’s biggest engagement during the winter season was the spectacular Star Wars: A Musical Journey tour, with 35 concert performances all over the USA and Canada featuring stunning film and light special effects.
The RPCO’s schedule during 2008 included a Valentine’s Day Opera Gala in Bristol, a St George’s Day Concert and the Cathcart Spring Prom (both at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Choral Society), a performance of the RPCO’s best-selling Here Come The Classics™ programme at Milton Keynes Theatre and an appearance at the Forum Theatre, Great Malvern. Festival appearances over the summer months included a concert-performance of Bizet’s Carmen at the Hampton Court Palace Festival and a string of ‘Picnic Prom’ appearances throughout the summer months at venues such as Rochester Castle, RHS Wisley Gardens (with Lesley Garrett), Audley End House in Saffron Walden (with Michael Ball and Lesley Garrett), Kenwood House in Hampstead and the Peterborough Festival.
The 2007 season featured a number of corporate events and high profile performances including the British Insurance Awards at the Royal Albert Hall. The RPCO appears annually on BBC Television’s Children in Need broadcast, and in November 2007 accompanied Annie Lennox and Westlife. The year culminated in a series of concerts together with Lemar and Katherine Jenkins in front of an audience which included HM The Queen to launch the newly renovated St Pancras International Station; the RPCO was also featured on a BBC Two television documentary about the project. 2005 saw the RPCO take part in a BBC televised concert in Trafalgar Square to celebrate the Sixtieth Anniversary of VE Day, performing with Sir Cliff Richard, Will Young, Katie Melua, Daniel Bedingfield and Heather Small. That year’s busy schedule also included performances with Tony Christie. In the summer of 2004, the RPCO performed to an audience of 70,000 at the Olympic Torch Concert in The Mall, televised live on BBC One, with Rod Stewart and Ozzy Osbourne. Other highlights included performing at Windsor Castle for HM The Queen and President Jacques Chirac to celebrate the centenary of the Entente Cordiale, and a gala fundraising concert at the Royal Albert Hall with Barbara Hendricks, Jocelyn Brown, Mick Hucknall and Chrissie Hynde.
The RPCO also has a flourishing international schedule which has included visits to Greece, Barbados, the Far East, Italy, Monaco, Rome, Spain, Russia, Estonia and Turkey. Touring highlights have included a performance with Paquito D’Rivera in Brazil and trips to Scandinavia for a concert tour of Les Misérables. The RPCO has toured the USA with Andrea Bocelli, and also as part of an extensive gala Royal Christmas tour (2002) with Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and Charlotte Church. A repeat Royal Christmas tour of North America in December 2005, featuring Andrea Bocelli and Denyce Graves, performed to sell-out audiences. 2008 was another busy touring year – in the spring the RPCO toured to Qatar where it performed with Andrea Bocelli by invitation of the Emir of Qatar. September 2008 saw a visit to South Korea where the RPCO performed at the World Cup Stadium in Seoul and the year culminated in a hugely successful week-long tour of Mexico, with the RPCO performing a Beatles programme alongside the BBC Big Band to sell-out crowds in the largest auditoriums across the country.
The RPCO’s many recordings include Mancini Rocks the Pops, Premier Pops, Pop Go the Beatles, Andrew Lloyd Webber Classic Songs and Elmer Bernstein by Elmer Bernstein. It has featured on two best-selling recordings with Lesley Garrett, including the hugely successful Soprano in Red.
Forthcoming plans for 2010 include a European Tour of Star Wars: A Musical Journey, with shows in Paris, Madrid, Milan, Lisbon, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Dublin and throughout the UK. Other high-profile performances during 2010 will include a concert with Dionne Warwick in March and an evening with Julie Andrews in May at the O2 Arena in London.