The Philharmonia Orchestra celebrates 40th anniversary of patronage from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales with Gala at Buckingham Palace

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales hosted a Gala at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday 29 May, marking 40 years as Patron of the Philharmonia Orchestra, in his 70th birthday year.

The Gala represented the launch of the Philharmonia’s new four-year fundraising campaign, Future 75, which aims to raise £10m by 2022 to sustain the Orchestra’s ambitious artistic, education and digital programme, and which is centred on the Orchestra’s 75th anniversary in 2020.

Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Philharmonia’s Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor, conducted the full Orchestra in the Ballroom in the Palace.

The programme, which included Mozart’s Overture to Don Giovanni, Strauss Don Juan and movements from Stravinsky’s The Firebird, alluded to key moments in the Orchestra’s history. Salonen conducted two movements from Strauss’ Four Last Songs(with soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen), which was premiered by the Philharmonia at the Royal Albert Hall in 1950, conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler.

In a speech after the performance, HRH The Prince of Wales said: “I am extremely proud to have been Patron of the Philharmonia for 40 years, and I am enormously touched to mark my 70th birthday year with what is an excellent excuse for a birthday celebration. I am delighted to be playing a part in assisting the Orchestra in the long term.”

“I have nothing but the greatest admiration for the Orchestra’s successes over all these years, not just… on stage, but also in its successful outreach programme… For example, the Philharmonia’s Orchestra Unwrapped concerts have given over 40,000 children the opportunity of experiencing an orchestra live, many for the first time.”

The Philharmonia’s Managing Director, Helen Sprott, and Saul Nathan, Chair of the Philharmonia Trust, said: “HRH The Prince of Wales has played an essential role in the life of the Philharmonia Orchestra. Over 40 years, he has been a consistent and enthusiastic patron, and the Orchestra would not be where it is today without his support. It was wonderful to be able to come together with guests from around the world to mark this anniversary, and we are extremely grateful to HRH The Prince of Wales for hosting this event at Buckingham Palace. 

“We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the founding donors of the Philharmonia’s Future 75 campaign, whose support has given the Orchestra and Trust a fantastic start to our major campaign.”

Philharmonia Orchestra

The Philharmonia Orchestra is a world-class symphony orchestra for the 21st century. Led by its Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Philharmonia has a pioneering approach to the role of the modern-day symphony orchestra, reaching new audiences and participants through audience development, digital technology and learning and participation programmes.

The Orchestra’s home is Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in the heart of London, where it presents a Season of over 50 performances each year. The Orchestra is committed to presenting the same quality of live music in venues throughout the UK, especially at its residencies: in Bedford, Leicester, Canterbury, Basingstoke, at the Three Choirs Festival and Garsington Opera. Internationally, the Philharmonia is active across Europe, Asia and the USA.

As one of the world’s most recorded orchestras, the Philharmonia’s international recognition and reputation in part derives from its extraordinary recording legacy, which in the last 10 years has been burnished by digital and technological innovation. Most recently the Philharmonia and Salonen have forged a new path with Virtual Reality. 360 Experience, produced with 3D audio and video, has been presented at Southbank Centre and other venues internationally, and is sold through the PlayStationVR store.

The Philharmonia was founded in 1945. It has been self-governing since 1964 and is owned by its 80 members. Finnish conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen has been Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor since 2008. Jakub Hrůša and Santtu-Matias Rouvali are Principal Guest Conductors and honorary conductor positions are held by Christoph von Dohnányi and Vladimir Ashkenazy.

The Philharmonia is proud to be an Arts Council England-funded organisation. A registered charity, the Orchestra relies on individual and corporate generosity to deliver its programme.

The Philharmonia’s Principal International Partner is Wuliangye.

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