Our Orchestras

During the 2024 Competition, 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.


Southbank Sinfonia

‘Classical music needs brilliant young advocates to communicate its power and worth in the 21st century.’
Simon Over, Principal Conductor, Southbank Sinfonia

Each year, Southbank Sinfonia welcomes 33 of the world’s most promising graduate musicians to embark on its renowned fellowship, providing a much-needed springboard into the profession. More than just an orchestra, it is a community in which young talents can find their own creative strengths, fulfil personal goals, make lasting contacts, and take their musicianship to new frontiers.

Founded in 2002 by Music Director Simon Over, players who have completed the fellowship now occupy prominent seats in leading orchestras worldwide. From the Philharmonia to the Hong Kong Philharmonic, each proudly acknowledges the positive impact that Southbank Sinfonia has made upon their progress. Many continue to play a valued role in the life of Southbank Sinfonia, returning as paid deputies and extras, enabling us to take on ambitious large-scale ventures, as well as to coach their successors.

Southbank Sinfonia celebrates how intrepid young players can have a uniquely important voice in the sector, challenging and refreshing traditions. From our Rush Hour Concert Series to our hit production of Amadeus at the National Theatre and recent collaborations with Nonclassical, iTunes, Sadler’s Wells and the RSC, you can witness bright young musicians setting the tempo for the future. In recognition of its achievements, the orchestra was nominated for the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Ensemble Award.

As a registered charity, we are proud to have generated well over £5 million that has gone directly into young musicians’ pockets, transforming their livelihoods through the bursaries we grant to each musician and the full fees we offer in all subsequent opportunities. Few other institutions worldwide give young artists such a footing.

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