Royal Melbourne Philharmonic (RMP) is a 120-voice choir and orchestra in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It was established in 1853, and is reportedly Australia's oldest surviving cultural organisation.
Although when it was founded the RMP Orchestra was Melbourne's premier orchestra, many of the orchestra's earlier members merged with the then fledgling Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and it lost its separate identity. The RMP has since reestablished its own orchestra and regularly performs both with and without the RMP Choir. Members of the choir are unpaid volunteers.
The RMP has participated at a number of important historical events, including the opening of the Melbourne Town Hall in 1870, the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880, the Great Centennial Exhibition of 1888, the opening of the first Parliament of Australia at the Royal Exhibition Building in 1901, the 1956 Summer Olympics, and the Centenary of Australian Federation celebrations in 2001.
The RMP has performed Handel's Messiah at least once every year since 1853, a world record for an unbroken sequence of annual performances of this oratorio.
It has presented the Australian premieres of such works as Mozart's Requiem, Bach's St Matthew Passion, Handel's Israel in Egypt and Jephtha, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Vivaldi's Gloria, Dvořák's Stabat Mater, Elgar's The Kingdom, Walton's Belshazzar's Feast and others.
The current Music Director and Chief Conductor is Andrew Wailes. Earlier chief conductors have included Alberto Zelman and Sir Bernard Heinze. Heinze held the post from 1927 to 1953; was named Honorary Life Conductor in the early 1960s, and made his last appearance on the RMP's podium in 1978. Guest conductors have included Sir Malcolm Sargent, Sir Thomas Beecham, George Szell, Sir Granville Bantock, Sir Eugene Goossens and Sir Charles Groves.