In the summer of 1904, the players of the Queen’s Hall Orchestra decided to take the outcome of a labour dispute into their own hands. They quit, hired a conductor, rented the Queen’s Hall, and started an orchestra of their own. They called it the London Symphony Orchestra.
The programme from their first concert lays out their manifesto in no uncertain terms. The talk of founding “a musical republic” must have sounded quite inflammatory in 1904, but they were only following in the footsteps of the Vienna Phil, which was founded as a republic in 1842, and the Berlin Phil, who declared independence four decades later when conductor Benjamin Bilse tried to make them travel to Warsaw by fourth-class train.
The recent decision of the Directors of the QUEEN’S HALL ORCHESTRA regarding the employment of Deputies, imposes conditions on its most prominent Members that they find it impossible to accept. About half the Band has in consequence felt it necessary to resign. These performers being, however, unwilling to lose touch with a public that has for many years showed the most generous appreciation of their abilities, have formed and Organization of their own under the title of
THE LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
and have obtained the co-operation of sufficient number of eminent Instrumentalists to complete an Orchestra which they venture to think is second to none in Europe. That this is not too much to claim is evident from the fact that the players are the élite of their profession in London – artists not only of talent, but of experience in the rendering of all kinds and styles of music under the direction of the most eminent conductors of Germany, Hungary, Italy, France and Great Britain.
The objects of the London Symphony Orchestra will be similar to those of the Queen’s Hall Orchestra ; that is to say, it will give COnverts of its own ; and will be open to accept Engagements to play at concerts given by others. For this latter puropse the Orchestra will be available in its full strength or in smaller contingents, in numbers varying from 40 to 100.
This new venture will be carried on as in Berlin and Vienna, where the Members of the Orchestra of the Philharmonic Societies are their own directors. As such they elect their own conductors, and therefore form something akin to a Musical Republic. It is believed that the standing of the artists forming the band of the London Symphony Orchestra is such that the most eminent musicians will not hesitate to allow their names to appear as conductors of its Concerts, and the belief is strengthened by the significant fact that
Dr. HANS RICHTER
has kindly consented to Conduct the