Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Indelibly linked to its founder, Sir Thomas Beecham, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) is considered one of the four major orchestras based in London. Established in 1946 in connection with the Royal Philharmonic Society, the orchestra's title was directly approved by King George VI. Although it has often had to fight for its survival, the RPO remains one of the busiest ensembles in Great Britain. The orchestra annually offers a set of concert series in three London venues (Royal Festival Hall, Barbican Hall and Croydon's Fairfield Hall), provides music for many films and tours extensively at home and abroad. It is more involved with the pop music industry than many of its peers and the ensemble's Hooked on Classics series of recordings has been a tremendous boon to the group's finances and international visibility. The series sold more than nine million copies world-wide. An appearance in the half-time show of the Orange Bowl football game in Miami, Florida during the mid-1980's brought the orchestra to the attention of millions of viewers. As it is with many of the world's first-ranked ensembles, the RPO relies heavily on its corporate sponsors for its funding. In an attempt to secure its financial future and have more control of its artistic direction, the orchestra began producing and marketing its own recordings under its exclusive RPO label.