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A lifelong love of music

His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, Patron of the Philharmonia, joined players and supporters for a special online event in January, hosted by the Orchestra’s Chair, Lord King of Lothbury.

“It’s been one of the most enjoyable and special aspects of my life for the last 40 years. I feel enormously proud of what is a really great Orchestra. To be asked to be Patron of such a great Orchestra was a huge honour, and still is.”

The Prince of Wales thanked the Philharmonia family of donors and friends for their generosity to the Orchestra and how important it is to support the performing arts, particularly at this time.  Reflecting on his own experience of playing and listening to music, His Royal Highness spoke about the positive role it can play in all our lives.

“As Patron of the Orchestra I am really immensely grateful to you all for your enthusiasm and your kindness and generosity in helping to make sure this great orchestra continues. I hope that when we are allowed out, finally, that we will all be able to rush to live concerts again, having been suitably vaccinated.”

Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay (Concertmaster), Yukiko Okura (Principal Viola) and Timothy Walden (Principal Cello) revealed the impact that the pandemic has had on the Orchestra. They highlighted the changes required by social distancing – relying on seeing, as much as listening, to each other as part of the ensemble – what it’s like performing without a live audience, and what they are most looking forward to about a return to live performance.

“Live performance pushes you to achieve something more than a recording because of the adrenaline – it’s a bit like a high-wire balancing act, without the safety net.”

Timothy Walden, Principal Cello

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Philharmonia Royal Soirée

Here are some highlights from this special event.


The third movement of Schubert’s Octet was specially chosen for the event by His Royal Highness as, in his own words, it is a piece that ‘always makes me feel better’.

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