Our Orchestras

For the first time this year, pianists in the semi-final stage of the competition as well as the two-night Grand Final will perform with a full orchestra.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

AS THE ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA (RPO) celebrates its 75th anniversary, its mission to enrich lives through orchestral experiences that are uncompromising in their excellence and inclusive in their appeal, places the RPO at the forefront of music-making in the UK and internationally.

Typically 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. Whilst artistic integrity remains paramount, 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.

The RPO collaborates with the most inspiring artists and was thrilled to welcome Vasily Petrenko as its new Music Director in August 2021. His appointment stands as a major landmark in the Orchestra’s history, signalling its determination to broaden the audience for orchestral music while enhancing its reputation as one of the world’s most versatile ensembles.



Patron: His Serene Highness Dr Donatus, Prince von Hohenzollern

HASTINGS INTERNATIONAL PIANO and the Royal College of Music have joined forces to create the Royal College of Music Prince Consort Orchestra, a chamber orchestra comprising some of the country’s finest young musicians. All of these young players have graduated from the Royal College of Music within the last five years and the energy, enthusiasm and expertise that they bring will enthral and enchant audiences as they are reminded of the thrill of live performance. The ensemble is being brought together to play for the semi-final stage of this year’s Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition.

Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition has, for the last decade or so, used the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to play for the finalists in the two-night Grand Final. The Royal College of Music Prince Consort Orchestra has been formed as a result of the decision to extend the live orchestral accompaniment to the semi[1]final stage. The 12 semi-finalists will perform in four concerts across two days, conducted by Simon Crawford-Philips, chief conductor of the Västerås Sinfonietta and Conductor Fellow of the NDR Elbphilharmonie, in Hamburg. Simon is also a renowned pianist and his expertise will be crucial in directing the orchestra through the diverse repertoire of Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Chopin concerti, providing compelling concerts as well as a level playing field for the competitors.

As well as sharing a huge sense of excitement about creating such a vibrant young orchestra, the board and management of Hastings Piano are pleased to be offering an opportunity to advance the development of these young players. They are all being paid at rates approved by the Musicians Union, so this is very much a professional engagement for them, but it will be a wonderful opportunity to hone their orchestral skills, particularly in the often overlooked area of accompaniment. After such a difficult time for the industry, particularly for those starting out in their musical careers, everyone at Hastings International Piano is thrilled to be able to offer work to these exceptionally talented young players.