Royal Philharmonic Society

views updated May 14 2018

Royal Philharmonic Society. Founded in London, Jan. 1813 for encouragement of orch. and instr. concerts and immediately promoted annual series of concerts. First concert 8 Mar. 1813. Concerts were given at first in Argyll Rooms, then successively at New Argyll Rooms, King's Th., Hanover Sq. Rooms, St. James's Hall, Queen's Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Fest. Hall. Commissioned Beethoven's 9th Sym. (though f.p. in Vienna) and gave the first Eng. perf. under Smart on 21 Mar. 1825. Sent Beethoven £100 on his death-bed and waived claim to its return when it was found among his effects. Since 1871 a replica of Schaller's bust of Beethoven, presented to the Soc. in that year by Mme. F. Linzbauer, has been placed at the front of the platform at every Phil. concert. To commemorate centenary of Beethoven's birth in 1870 a Gold Medal was struck by the Soc. in 1871 and is presented sporadically, at the recommendation of the dirs., to distinguished musicians (composers and executants), being among the most coveted mus. awards. Most of the world's leading musicians have appeared on the Soc.'s platform. Prefix ‘Royal’ granted 1912.

Royal Philharmonic Society

views updated Jun 27 2018

Royal Philharmonic Society. London concert society formed by professional musicians in 1813 to promote primarily orchestral and instrumental music. For the first Philharmonic Society concert, the orchestra was led by the violinist Salomon and directed from the piano by Clementi. Spohr claimed to be the first director to use a baton in 1820, while later famous conductors included Mendelssohn, Sterndale Bennett, Sullivan, Tchaikovsky, Nikisch, Wood, Beecham, and, for a single disastrous season, Wagner. New commissioned works included Beethoven's ‘Choral’ Symphony (1825) and Mendelssohn's ‘Italian’ Symphony (1833). The society was granted its ‘Royal’ title in 1913 and has awarded a prestigious gold medal since 1871.

Eric Cross

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Royal Philharmonic Society

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