The Philharmonia Orchestra is a world-class symphony orchestra for the 21st century. Led by its Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Philharmonia has a pioneering approach to the role of the modern-day symphony orchestra, reaching new audiences and participants through audience development, digital technology and learning and participation programmes.
The Orchestra’s home is Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in the heart of London, where it presents a Season of over 50 performances each year. Orchestral programming is complemented by series including Philharmonia at the Movies, Music of Today and the Philharmonia Chamber Players.
The Orchestra is committed to presenting the same quality of live music in venues throughout the UK as it does in London, especially at its residencies: in Bedford, Leicester, Canterbury, Basingstoke, at the Three Choirs Festival and Garsington Opera. At the heart of the UK residencies is a programme delivered by the Philharmonia Education team that empowers people in every community to engage and participate in orchestral music.
Internationally, the Philharmonia is active across Europe, Asia and the USA. With Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Orchestra has recently undertaken major tours to Taiwan and Japan (spring 2017), West-Coast USA (autumn 2016) and a residency at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in summer 2016.
As one of the world’s most recorded orchestras, the Philharmonia’s international recognition and reputation in part derives from its extraordinary recording legacy, which in the last 10 years has been burnished by digital and technological innovation. The Orchestra now records and releases music across multiple channels and media, from an iPad app to releases on partner label Signum Records.
More recently the Philharmonia and Salonen have forged a new path with Virtual Reality. 360 Experience, produced with 3D audio and video, has been presented at Southbank Centre and at the Ravinia (Chicago) and Cheltenham Festivals, and is sold through the PlayStationVR store.
The Philharmonia was founded in 1945 by EMI producer Walter Legge. It has been self-governing since 1964 and is owned by its 80 members. During its first seven decades, the Orchestra collaborated with most of the great classical artists of the 20th century, such as Strauss and Karajan.
Finnish conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen has been Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor since 2008. Jakub Hrůša and Santtu-Matias Rouvali are Principal Guest Conductors and honorary conductor positions are held by Christoph von Dohnányi and Vladimir Ashkenazy. Composer Unsuk Chin is Artistic Director of the Orchestra’s new-music series, Music of Today.
The Philharmonia’s Principal International Partner is Wuliangye.