In the 1930s, a small group of amateur musicians formed the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society, the second if its kind after London’s now defunct Royal Philharmonic Society. The musicians would meet in St. Martin’s Church but primarily focused on choral music. It wasn’t until 1940 that the society would be formally founded as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
As the oldest continuing professional symphony orchestra in the United Kingdom, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra has become a centerpiece in the culture of Liverpool. With more than 250 years of performances behind them, the orchestra continues to thrive in classical music with 80 concerts a season at home and even more around the world.
The Philharmonic Hall opened officially in 1849 by the society, making the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic the only orchestra in the United Kingdom with its own performance venue. Disaster struck in 1933 when a fire destroyed most of the hall but it was funded and replaced in 1939. In 1957, the title of “Royal” would be bestowed upon the organization.
Over the years, the society has expanded its musical offerings and now boasts additional groups including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and a contemporary music group known as Ensemble 10/10. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic also hosts a chamber series at St. George’s Hall.
The first conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra was John Russell who was succeeded by 18 future conductors, notably including Malcolm Sargent,Zubin Mehta, Marek Janowski and Vasily Petrenko. In the 1940s, it would be Sir Malcolm Sargent who would forge the way for the orchestra’s educational programming which continues to thrive, reaching thousands of students and audiences each year.
The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic celebrated its 175th anniversary in March of 2015. Orchestra members rehearse at Liverpool Philharmonic at the Friary.
In 2006 the orchestra would become the first arts partner of European public radio station Classic FM as the Classic FM Orchestra in North West England which expanded the capability of public broadcasting for their concerts
All I can say - again - is lucky LiverpoolThe Sunday Times