Founded in 1840 by a group of Liverpool music-lovers, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic is the UK’s oldest continuing professional symphony orchestra and one the world’s oldest concert societies. It has always been at the heart of Liverpool’s cultural life and today is a rapidly developing, forward-looking and innovative arts organisation.
The original vision of that first committee has remained a driving ambition, and is interpreted today in the organisation’s mission "to enhance and transform lives through music” through a dynamic group of music ensembles, at the centre of which is the award-winning Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and its associated ensembles; Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, one of the UK’s premier arts and entertainment venues; the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir; Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Youth Choir, Children’s Choir and Melody Makers; a chamber music series; and an extensive learning programme which is a leader in its field in its quality, reach and impact on our communities.
Liverpool Philharmonic presents more than 400 concerts and events at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Music Room, and venues across the City annually. The Hall is recognised as one of the UK’s premier venues for its wide-ranging presentation of the best in contemporary and roots music, partnerships with festivals, broadcasters and promoters and innovative approaches to classical and non-classical programming. The Hall also offers a unique cinema experience and a popular film programme and a comedy line-up featuring many of the top stand-up comedians in the country, as well as hosting numerous community events.
More than 350,000 children and adults engage with Liverpool Philharmonic, either as ticket buyers for performances or as participants in workshops and associated events, each year. We offer a range of inspirational lifelong learning opportunities to enjoy and take part in live music-making. Flagship learning programmes include our annual Schools’ Concerts, performed to over 23,000 children from more than 300 schools; leadership of In Harmony Liverpool, the El Sistema-inspired music and social programme; and our Musician in Residence programme delivered in partnership with Mersey Care NHS Trust.
Vasily Petrenko was appointed Principal Conductor of the Orchestra in September 2006 and in September 2009 became Chief Conductor. He joins a distinguished line of musicians who have led the Orchestra during its illustrious history including Max Bruch, Sir Charles Hallé, Sir Henry Wood, Sir Malcolm Sargent, Sir John Pritchard, Sir Charles Groves, Walter Weller, David Atherton, Marek Janowski, Libor Pešek KBE, Petr Altrichter and Gerard Schwarz.
In recent seasons the Orchestra has given world premiere performances of major works by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Sir John Tavener, Karl Jenkins, Stewart Copeland, Michael Torke, Michael Nyman and Nico Muhly, alongside works by Liverpool-born and North West-based composers. Collaborations with international artists from rock, pop and roots music include Sir Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Ian Broudie and the Lightning Seeds and Toumani Diabaté.
The Orchestra also performs widely throughout the UK and internationally, most recently touring to China, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Spain, Germany, Romania, the Czech Republic, Japan, Italy and Slovenia.
Liverpool Philharmonic’s award-winning partnership with Classic FM, the UK’s biggest commercial radio station with five and a half million listeners tuning in each week, was established in 2001. Liverpool Philharmonic also enjoys relationships with other broadcasters including the BBC.
With Vasily Petrenko, recent additions to the Orchestra’s discography include the complete symphonies of Shostakovich and Elgar, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphonies Nos. 1, 2 and 5, which won ‘Recording of the Year’ and ‘Orchestral Recording of the Year’ at the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017.