The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) brings the joy and inspiration of live orchestral music to the United States. The American Friends of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (AFRPO), established in 1983, supports the Orchestra’s biennial tours of the U.S. and performances by RPO ensembles in the intervening years. The AFRPO also provides funds for the Orchestra’s music outreach programs in the U.S., including the sharing of research and methodology with American colleagues as part of The Lilia Bloom Music Outreach Program.
The Royal Philharmonic’s 2022-3 U.S. tour (the first American tour by an international orchestra during the COVID era), was the Orchestra’s inaugural tour with its new Music Director Vasily Petrenko. The tour culminated with a sell-out concert at Carnegie Hall in New York on January 31, which garnered unanimous critical acclaim. The Orchestra also enjoyed a week-long residency in Orlando where it opened the brand-new Steinmetz Hall at the Dr Phillips Centre for the Performing Arts.
“The AFRPO has brought me one of a kind experiences, new friends and the joy of world class music. From concerts at Carnegie Hall and the new Steinmetz Hall in Orlando to music outreach at the Hersey School, along with the extraordinary Gala at Windsor Castle in the UK, the AFRPO has enriched my life immeasurably.”
James Mead, Treasurer, AFRPO Board
The AFRPO supports the Royal Philharmonic’s biennial tours in the U.S. and performances in the US by RPO chamber music groups in the intervening years. The biennial orchestral tours are complemented by outreach programs funded by The Lilia Bloom Fund Music Outreach Program. These build on the work of RPO Resound, the Orchestra’s pioneering community and education program, which has been a leader in this field for more than 30 years.
In 2022, the RPO enjoyed its first residency in the U.S. at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando. A week of fabulous concerts included orchestral repertoire and collaborations with Jennifer Hudson, the Royal Ballet, Leon Bridges, and Lyle Lovett. In September 2022 members of the Orchestra returned to Orlando to introduce its STROKESTRA program, one of the RPO’s signature programs which uses music to help stroke patients heal physically and emotionally.
The success of the Orlando residency has resulted in plans for 2023-4 that include two residencies – a return visit to Orlando and a second residency in Costa Mesa, California. The residencies, along with the 2024 U.S. tour that will comprise concerts in 10 other cities, will be the foundation for AFRPO supported outreach programs through The Lilia Bloom Music Outreach Program (LBMOP). The LBMOP honors Lilia Bloom for her passionate and visionary leadership, bringing the RPO’s ground-breaking outreach projects to America. The LBMOP is funded by individual contributions from Americans committed to bringing the joy and healing power of music to diverse and traditionally underserved audiences, marrying music making of the highest quality with ground-breaking research into the impact of music on mental health and the wider human condition.
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AFRPO Board of Directors:
Barry Bloom (President)
Huw Davies (Vice President and Secretary)
James Mead (Treasurer)
David C. Albright
James R. LoGatto
Photo: Kian Soltani (cello) and Vasily Petrenko at Carniegie Hall, 2022. © Richard Termine
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 2021, reaffirming its mission to enrich lives through orchestral experiences that are uncompromising in their excellence and inclusive in their appeal. Performing approximately 200 concerts each season and with a worldwide audience of more than half-a-million people, the Orchestra embraces a broad repertoire that enables it to reach the most diverse audience of any British symphony orchestra. The RPO is unafraid to push boundaries and is equally at home recording video game, film and television soundtracks and working with pop stars, as it is performing the great symphonic repertoire.
A Different Type of Orchestra:
The RPO’s dynamic musicians perform at the world’s best concert halls and produce enthralling recordings. Inspiring performances of orchestral repertoire and collaborations with stars from a wide variety of musical genres make the RPO a leader in delivering new orchestral experiences and reaching new audiences. The Orchestra’s creative partnerships with artists, promoters and producers have resulted in ambitious performances in venues ranging from vast arenas to small intimate settings, including a double-decker bus!
Outreach and community engagement are integral to the RPO’s ethos and embedded in the DNA of its musicians and leadership. The Orchestra’s pioneering music programs help people overcome challenges in health, education and disabilities and create new musically engaged communities. This commitment is an essential part of the RPO’s management and organization.
The RPO is supported primarily by ticket sales, contributions from private benefactors, corporate sponsorship and grants from Trusts and Foundations. Only a small percentage of the RPO budget is derived from UK government funding. The AFRPO makes an important contribution towards the Royal Philharmonic’s concerts and outreach programs in the United States and contributes to the Orchestra’s ongoing work in the UK.
Photo: State Theatre New Jersey. © Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.