Title graphic: Encyclopedia Entries
Orchestras: 2

Both the London Philharmonic Orchestra (1932) and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (1946) were founded by Sir Thomas Beecham, testifying to his entrepreneurial flair. The LPO soon rose to preeminence among London orchestras and, despite financial troubles in the 1950s, regained its corporate identity during the 1960s and 1970s under such principal conductors as John Pritchard (from 1962), Bernard Haitinck (1967) and Sir Georg Solti (1979). Finance for the RPO's launching was generated from substantial recording contracts, a similar arrangement funding the formation of the Philharmonia Orchestra (New PO, 1964-77) in 1945 by Walter Legge. Its considerable reputation, created through recordings, was consolidated in the 1960s when Otto Klemperer became its principal conductor.

Two orchestras had already been formed in the provinces before 1900 - the Hallé at Manchester (1857) and the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra (1897, renamed Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, 1954) - and these were joined by the City of Birmingham Orchestra (1920, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, 1948), the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (which became a full-time body in 1943), and orchestras for Scotland, the Scottish National Orchestra (1951) at Glasgow, and for Northern Ireland, the Ulster Orchestra (1966) at Belfast. All these orchestras have gained considerable reputations, particularly when directed by such visionary conductors as Sir John Barbirolli (Hallé, from 1943), Sir Simon Rattle (CBSO, 1979), Sir Charles Groves (Liverpool PO, 1963) and Sir Alexander Gibson, the first Scotsman to conduct the SNO (1959).