The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) is a British orchestra based in London. It tours widely, and is sometimes referred to as "Britain's national orchestra". In 1946, Sir Thomas Beecham founded the RPO, which played its first concert in Croydon on September 15 of that year. Beecham was the RPO's music director until his death in 1961. Rudolf Kempe, who became assistant conductor in 1960, became principal conductor in 1961 and music director in 1962.