London Symphony Orchestra tops PPL chart ranking UK classical ensembles

PPL sponsored the ‘Contemporary’ category at the annual Gramophone Awards on 13 September and, to celebrate, commissioned a chart of the orchestras which were most frequently played on UK radio and TV over the past decade.

The London Symphony Orchestra took the top spot and it was found that over the past ten years recordings by these top 20 orchestras have gained 109 million seconds of radio airplay in the UK. That is nearly three and a half years of airplay in total.

The 20 most played UK orchestras

Rank    Orchestra

1          London Symphony Orchestra

2          Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

3          London Philharmonic Orchestra

4          Academy Of St Martin In The Fields

5          Philharmonia Orchestra

6          Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

7          English Chamber Orchestra

8          Royal Scottish National Orchestra

9          City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

10         Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

11         BBC Symphony Orchestra

12         Scottish Chamber Orchestra

13         Academy Of Ancient Music Orchestra

14         Halle Orchestra

15         The National Philharmonic Orchestra

16         New London Orchestra

17         Ulster Orchestra

18         BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

19         BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

20         BBC Concert Orchestra

The LSO which performs over 120 concerts a year, finished ahead of the Royal Philharmonic and London Philharmonic orchestras.

However, just 40 percent of the total UK radio and TV airplay over the decade, from recordings performed by the top 20 orchestras, was considered “classical” music.

The Royal Philharmonic released a 2015 album of new orchestrated versions of Elvis Presley songs, accompanied by archive recordings of the singer’s voice, which became a huge hit, selling 1.6 million copies.  It also inspired a similar album, re-orchestrated some of The Beach Boys’ back catalogue in June 2018.

However, the music makers of today are increasingly looking towards orchestral musicians to add an air of sophistication to their recordings too.  One in three of the top 100 most played new recordings on TV and radio in each of the last ten years included a contribution from at least one member of the top 20 orchestras.

Ben Hogwood, Classical Repertoire Manager at PPL commented:

“Orchestral music is popular throughout the UK, and on radio or TV you are never far from a recording made with players from a UK-based orchestra.  In the last decade orchestral music has broadened to take in not just classical music but also repertoire from the likes of Elvis Presley, Ella Fitzgerald and Fatboy Slim.  UK-based orchestras make an incredibly important contribution to UK music as a whole and PPL are very pleased to represent so many orchestral performers.”

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