Honourable Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic with a Corporate Award from Liverpool John Moores University.
In 1840, the same year that the first Cunard passenger liner set sail for America, a group of Liverpool music-lovers came together to form a society which presented four concerts in its first year. Little could they have known that 175 years later, the very same society would be continuing to go from strength to strength, and would still be at the very heart of Liverpool’s cultural life as well as being a global ambassador for the city.
It may be one of the world’s oldest and best-known concert societies, but the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic is as culturally relevant today as it always has been. Known locally and affectionately as ‘The Phil’, the original vision of its founders has remained a driving force and is interpreted today in the Philharmonic’s mission “to promote the love of music and music-making” at the centre of which is the award-winning Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and its associated ensembles and concert series. It also runs an extensive learning programme, which is recognised as a national leader in its field for its quality, reach and impact on communities.
Flagship programmes include annual Schools’ Concerts, performed to over 23,000 children from across the North West; leadership of In Harmony Liverpool, the El Sistema-inspired music and social change programme in Everton; and a Musician in Residence programme delivered in partnership with Mersey Care NHS Trust.
The Philharmonic also entered into a unique partnership as part of this University’s arts and cultural partnership programme, aimed at providing opportunities to all LJMU students to participate in the life of the city.
As neighbours in Hope Street, we at the Everyman and Playhouse are also part of the LJMU student experience and together with other arts organisations in the city we provide students from the University the chance to experience theatre, arts and culture at its best – and at little or no cost to themselves.
At the Philharmonic, all LJMU students can get free and discounted tickets to experience first hand, live classical music, played by a world class orchestra and conducted by the charismatic Chief Conductor, Vasily Petrenko – who is also a Fellow of the University.
As the Vice Chancellor, Professor Nigel Weatherill describes this and other partnerships – I want all of our students to have the opportunity to see great theatre, be inspired by modern art and experience the thrill of a live orchestra at full blast – we are lucky to have them all in Liverpool.
A truly inspiring vision and Nigel has recently been appointed as Chairman of the Philharmonic, further cementing the partnership between the two institutions.
So with over 250 concerts and events each year, a brand new small venue as part of a £14 million investment in the Philharmonic Hall itself and a programme of events presented not only across the city region and nationally, but through broadcast and tours that have taken them all over the world, the Philharmonic is as relevant and ambitious today as its founders would have wished.
We are delighted to be able to contribute to the 175th anniversary celebrations of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and to recognise the remarkable achievements of this true ambassador of music and the city of Liverpool. Thus, it is with great pleasure that I present Michael Eakin, Chief Executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic to accept our highest organisational honour, the Liverpool John Moores University Corporate Award.