Conductor Armand Diangienda founded the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste in 1994 after losing his job as an airline pilot, naming it after his grandfather, religious leader Simon Kimbangu. At its conception, the group had only twelve amateur musicians that shared instruments and often used common materials as makeshift instrument parts. The group eventually grew to the size of about 200 amateur musicians and performers consisting of a full orchestra and choir. The orchestra gained international attention when German filmmakers Martin Baer and Claus Wischmann created the documentary Kinshasa Symphony depicting the plight of the orchestra and its members in poverty stricken Kinshasa. In May 2013 it was announced that Armand Diangienda was to become an honorary member of the Royal Philharmonic Society, an award previously bestowed on such famous musicians as Mendelssohn, Rossini, Wagner, Brahms and Stravinsky.