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Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Orchestra)

Formed: 1946

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The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), based in London, was formed by Sir Thomas Beecham in 1946. In its early days, the orchestra secured profitable recording contracts and important engagements including the Glyndebourne Festival Opera and the concerts of the Royal Philharmonic Society. After Beecham's death in 1961 the orchestra's fortunes declined steeply; it battled for survival until the mid-1960s, when its future was secured after an Arts Council report recommended that it should receive public subsidy; a further crisis arose in the same era when it seemed that the orchestra's right to call itself "Royal" could be withdrawn.

Since Beecham's death, the RPO has had seven chief conductors, including Rudolf Kempe, Antal Doráti, André Previn and Vladimir Ashkenazy. Others closely associated with the orchestra have included Sir Charles Groves, Sir Charles Mackerras, Peter Maxwell Davies, Yehudi Menuhin and Leopold Stokowski.

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