The RPS knew Beethoven. Now it loves Sondheim

The Royal Philharmonic Society has made Stephen Sondheim an Honorary Member, a title it first granted in 1826 to Carl Maria von Weber.

John Gilhooly, the RPS chair, said: ‘Stephen Sondheim’s work is transcendent. In its musical sophistication and depth of thought, it has inspired audiences internationally, and generations of professional and amateur performers alike. The musicians who founded the RPS in 1813 set out with the conviction that music can touch and enhance everyone’s lives. This is evident in the millions today who have their own favourite Sondheim song and favourite Sondheim lyric, cherished as if the composer were speaking to them personally. His music only grows in resonance, as seen by the immensely successful London revivals of Follies and Company, and it is sure to resound for many, many years to come.’


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  • A wonderful honor. What an embarrassment that our own Library of Congress has yet to bestow the “George Gershwin Prize for Popular Song” on Mr. Sondheim.

    • I only learn about your George Gershwin prize now but that is very surprising. Surely some of Sondheim’s songs are in the blood of any American who enjoys popular song?

  • Thank god the extraordinary blowhard Gilhooly stayed away from this presentation. It was painful enough as it was – did Sondheim even know what the event was about? – but that the shamless namelicker JGil stayed away can only be gratefully applauded.

  • There is nothing against musicals, as there is nothing against the people who write them, be them good or bad or nondistinct or anthropomorphic. But it is absurd to treat them as serious composers of classical music and this crazy gesture of the RPS merely reveals a total lack of understanding of their own genre. It is a populist gesture, very embarrassing for such institution.

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