Prince of Wales tells Philharmonia Orchestra music is ‘one of the most enjoyable & special aspects’ of his life

The Prince of Wales held a virtual video call with members of The Philharmonia Orchestra earlier in the week, and explained how much he enjoys music. The future King also reflected on his musical talents as a young man.

Prince Charles has been Patron of the Orchestra since 1980, and he highlighted to those on the call how he is ‘enormously proud of what is a really great Orchestra’ and becoming Patron was a ‘huge honour’.

“I find the whole experience of being there with the Orchestra or listening to it in a great hall extraordinary because it completely surrounds you and there is nothing to substitute from that,” Charles commented.

The Prince of Wales held a virtual video call with Mervyn King, Chair of the Philharmonia Orchestra. (IMAGE: @philharmonia/Twitter).

Prince Charles asked Zsolt-Timhamer Vistantary, Concertmaster of the The Philharmonic Orchestra: “I was wondering is it more difficult playing when you’re socially distanced like that? Does it have an effect?”

The Concertmaster stated: “It is actually quite difficult, you know the orchestra, the ensemble itself works as an entity and the things is if you stretch it, the sound is thinned out and we need to play much more usually. At the end, we are so grateful, we have the opportunity to play together.”

“It’s a wonderful thing,” the Royal replied.

Charles recalled his own musical upbringing and highlighted how his passion for classical music started at a young age.

“I remember in my own small way the joy of playing in an Orchestra and the wonderful sensation of being part of an immense whole. I remember I started with a teacher who went by the unlikely name Miss Borr but those sort of early lessons were very important.

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“I joined the Orchestra and I had great fun and enjoyed it more and more. It’s also how I got into classical music.”

The Prince of Wales sang in a choir as a child whilst at Gordonstoun School, as well as playing the trumpet in the orchestra there.

In 1978, Prince Charles sang with the Bach Choir, of which he is President, at a performance of Handel’s Coronation Anthems in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

The father-of-two commented on his future plans to see the Orchestra. “When we’re eventually released from all this lockdown I have a feeling there’ll be an immense explosion of interest and people wanting to hear live music again.”

Yukiko Oqura, Principal Viola in the Orchestra, replied: “It is rather disconcerting,” regarding the Coronavirus pandemic and how the Orchestra can’t perform in a large group.

“So I hope I’ll see you playing live before too long. I’ll shall need it very badly.”

The Prince of Wales spoke to members of the Philharmonia Orchestra about how the Coronavirus pandemic has affected them. (IMAGE: @philharmonia/Twitter).

The Prince, who played the cello with the Trinity College Orchestra at university, asked Timothy Walden (Principal Cello of the Orchestra) if he’s been able to practise and play the ‘wonderful Cello’ much at home.

The fellow Cello player replied: “Yes, I’m trying to practise everyday to keep the fingers moving and I’m looking forward to playing live because live performances are important for a performer with the excitement and electricity and the instant feedback you get from the audience it’s something I’ve missed a lot.

“As an artist, it pushes you to achieve something more than the recording because you’ve got the adrenaline rushing around you and it’s a bit like a high wire balancing act without the safety net.”

The future King praised the orchestra and commented how ‘wonderful for all you [members of the orchestra] to be so supportive throughout this incredibly challenging time’.

“As Patron of the Orchestra, I am immensely grateful to you all in the Orchestra for your enthusiasm, kindness and generosity in helping to make sure this great orchestra to continue.”

“As I said earlier when we’re allowed out finally, we’ll all rush to live concerts again having been suitably vaccinated and be able to give all the musicians a big cheer, who need it so badly. I felt so much for them during these times.”

The Prince of Wales then thanked the members who spoke to him for taking the time to discuss aspects of the Orchestra with him.

The Prince, who has been a longtime supporter of the arts, has previously raised concerns about how the industry will survive after the coronavirus crisis.

In 2020, the UK Government unveiled a £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund for the arts in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.

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