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Here’s our top ten favourite facts you mightn’t know you needed to know about life behind the great doors of The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall…
One the world’s oldest concert societies, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic was founded in 1840 with the simple but sound mission, “to promote the love of music and music-making.”
The society didn’t have a permanent residence until John Cunningham, the Scottish architect who designed Lime Street Station, was commissioned to design a concert hall to house an orchestra of 250 musicians and potential audience of over 2000 people in 1844.
The original building, which Cunningham was immensely proud of, opened on 27th August 1849 but was destroyed in a fire in July 1933. Later that year, architect Herbert Rowse who gave us Water Street’s India Buildings, designed the replacement building which we now know and love.
It wasn’t until 1957 that the Liverpool Philharmonic Society and Orchestra as it was known back then, acquired the ‘Royal’ prefix we pretty much take for granted. A year later, Her Majesty the Queen became Patron and has retained the title ever since.
In light of the many contributions the RLPO makes across Merseyside, in 1991 it also became one the first organisations to be granted the Freedom of the City of Liverpool.
The Grade II listed concert hall designed by Rowse was heavily influenced by an Art Deco sub-division known as Streamline Moderne or Ocean Liner-style when it opened in June 1939 to both architectural and most importantly, acoustic acclaim.
An extension was added in 1992 followed by a £10 million refurb of the hall in 1995, and most recently, in 2012 London firm Caruso St John – who worked on Damien Hirst’s Mayfair gallery – undertook a £14 million refurbishment and extension project which was completed in time to mark the 175th anniversary of the orchestra in 2015.
From huge names in comedy to touring bands, tribute acts and internationally-acclaimed icons calling in on their travels, The Liverpool Philharmonic Hall has welcomed them all – and continues to do so, with an outrageously great guest list already lined up for 2020 including Dionne Warwick, Alistair McGowan, Billy Ocean, Rose Royce, Kim Wilde and Katie Melua confirmed so far this year.
The award-winning RLPO concert series is led by Chief Conductor, Vasily Petrenko. Along with media partner Classic FM attracting a new audience, Classical BRIT winner Petrenko has garnered world-wide critical acclaim and drawn a younger audience to classical music, with live streamed concerts on the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Facebook Page
While giving around 100 concerts at The Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and across the city each season as well as touring the UK and the rest of the world, in 1998 the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra launched its own record label, RLPO Live which you can listen to on Spotify here
As well as entertaining all over the world the RLPO has collaborated with Liverpool artists including Elvis Costello, The Lightning Seeds, Echo & The Bunnymen, Cast, Liverpool super club Cream and Sir Paul McCartney – who worked on The Liverpool Oratorio to commemorate the RLPO’s 150th anniversary which you can listen to here
The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir was founded in 1840 and has sang alongside some of the world’s finest conductors, orchestras and soloists in prestigious venues including the Royal Albert Hall.
Most impressive of all is how the RLPC is made up of amateur singers from all over Merseyside including students, teachers, doctors and actors who attend nearly 60 rehearsals and 20 performances each year as part of their commitment to the choir.
There’s a huge community of young people who make up Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Company and so many ways to get involved whether you’re a musician or vocalist, and no matter what kind of music you like to play or want to learn about, there’s regular concert visits, workshops, classes, visiting professionals and work experience available within the Music Industry.
The Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra welcomes musicians aged from 13-to-23, while younger children aged 7-to-12 with a passion for singing can take part in choral training with the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and progress to Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir.
The RLPO also won a Fantastic for Families award in 2017 with family concerts featuring 30-minute musical instrument petting zoos before each performance – making them something totally different for families to try together!
In Harmony is a government-funded RLPO organisation which reaches children classed as living in poverty or with greater obstacles to resources, which brings free music lessons to primary schools every week across Merseyside.
Each child learns to play an instrument and creates orchestral music, and by the time they leave primary school will usually have taken part in over 140 orchestra rehearsals and 25 performances, learning to play to a musical examination board standard of Grade 2 or higher.
The Liverpool Philharmonic Hall is a completely different way to experience movies. You can catch a classic film, new release or favourite title in some of the most opulent surroundings the city centre has to offer – with some movies featuring live orchestral accompaniment. Live orchestra screenings for 2020 include Wizard of Oz in April and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in November.
When was your most memorable visit to The Liverpool Phil? Tweet to tell us to share your highlights @TheGuideLpool
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