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For 150 years the RMP has regularly presented concerts featuring its own choir and orchestra, and although the RMP Choir has become more established and familiar to Melbourne audiences, it was the RMP Orchestra that introduced to Australian audiences such works as Beethoven’s Fifth and Eighth Symphonies and Mendelssohn’s Fifth Symphony, as well as numerous symphonies and concertos by the likes of Haydn and Mozart, not to mention many of the great works of the choral repetoire premiered in Australia by the RMP.
As Australia’s oldest continuously existing musical organisation, the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic has within its charter the provision for the running of both a choir and an orchestra and it is important to note that much of the earliest orchestral activity in Melbourne was connected to the then Melbourne Philharmonic.
It was indeed partly the orchestra of the Philharmonic that merged with various other ensembles (chiefly the orchestra associated with the University of Melbourne) to form what eventually became the MSO.
Under the RMP Chief Conductor of the time, Sir Bernard Heinze, the RMP Choir became the ABC’s preferred choir, and during this period the need for an RMP orchestra became less relevant. Throughout this period of some forty years it was the Melbourne Symphony that almost exclusively accompanied the RMP Choir in concerts of major orchestral and choral works. In more recent years the RMP has formed close working relationships with ensembles such as the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, Melbourne Youth Orchestra and the Australian Classical Players.
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