The PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA is a British orchestra based in London. It
was founded in 1945 by
Walter Legge , a classical music record
EMI . Since 1995, the orchestra has been based in the
Royal Festival Hall
Royal Festival Hall . The Philharmonia also has residencies at De
Montfort Hall ,
Leicester , the
Corn Exchange, Bedford , and The
Anvil, Basingstoke .
Esa-Pekka Salonen has been the orchestra's
principal conductor and artistic advisor since 2008. Helen Sprott is
the orchestra's current managing director,
Orchestra performs more than 160 concerts a year and
tours widely, and also records music for films and computer games.
Since its inception in 1945, the Philharmonia has commissioned more
than 100 compositions from composers that include Sir Harrison
Birtwistle, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Mark-Anthony Turnage and James
* 1 History
* 1.1 Early decades
* 1.2 Recent decades
* 2 Recordings
* 3 Other activities
* 4 Principal Conductors
* 5 References
* 6 External links
The orchestra was founded in 1945 by
Walter Legge . As Legge was a
recording producer for
EMI , it was believed that the orchestra was
primarily formed for recording purposes, but that was not Legge's
intention. He had been Sir
Thomas Beecham 's assistant at the Royal
Opera House ,
Covent Garden , before World War II, and, assuming that
he and Beecham would be in charge there again after the war, Legge
planned to establish a first-class orchestra for opera, concerts and
recordings. After the war, opera resumed at
Covent Garden under a
different management, but Legge went ahead with his plans for a new
orchestra. His contacts in the musical world during the war enabled
him to secure the services of a large number of talented young
musicians still serving in the armed forces in 1945. At the
Philharmonia's first concert on 25 October 1945, more than sixty per
cent of the players were still officially in the services. Beecham
conducted the concert (for the fee of one cigar), but as he refused to
be Legge's employee and Legge refused to cede control of the
orchestra, Beecham instead went on to found the Royal Philharmonic
In its early years, with financial support of the Last Maharaja of
Jayachamaraja Wodeyar Bahadur (1919-1974), the orchestra
engaged many prominent conductors, including
Arturo Toscanini ,
Richard Strauss and
Wilhelm Furtwängler .
Herbert von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan was
closely associated with the Philharmonia in its early years, although
he never held an official title with the orchestra. At first, Legge
was against appointing an official principal conductor, feeling that
no one conductor should have more importance to the orchestra than
Legge himself. But Karajan was principal conductor in all but name.
He built the orchestra into one of the finest in the world and made
numerous recordings, including all the Beethoven symphonies.
Otto Klemperer , the first principal conductor of the Philharmonia
In 1954, Karajan was elected music director of the Berlin
Orchestra and subsequently curtailed his work with the
Philharmonia. Needing to find a new conductor for the orchestra, Legge
Otto Klemperer , whose career was flagging at the time.
Klemperer's name became closely linked with the orchestra during an
Indian summer " of celebrated recordings. In 1959, Klemperer was
named music director for life.
On 10 March 1964, Legge announced that he was going to disband the
Philharmonia Orchestra. At a recording session with Klemperer, a
meeting was convened where those present unanimously agreed that they
would not allow the orchestra to be disbanded. Klemperer gave his
immediate support. On 17 March 1964, the members of the orchestra
elected their own governing body and adopted the name New Philharmonia
Orchestra. The inaugural concert of the New Philharmonia under its own
auspices took place on 27 October 1964. It was a performance of
Beethoven 's Symphony No. 9 , conducted by Klemperer, who was now
honorary president of the orchestra. From 1966 until 1972, the
chairman of the orchestra was the principal flautist,
Gareth Morris .
The orchestra gave many more live performances after it became
self-governing than it had under Legge's management. It reacquired the
rights to the name "Philharmonia Orchestra" in 1977, and has been
known by that name ever since.
Klemperer retired from conducting in 1971, but was officially still
the orchestra's principal conductor until his death in 1973. For the
two intervening years,
Lorin Maazel held the post of associate
principal conductor (1971–1973), and was effectively the principal
Riccardo Muti was principal conductor from 1973 to 1982.
Giuseppe Sinopoli succeeded Muti, acting as principal conductor from
1984 to 1994. In 1997,
Christoph von Dohnányi became principal
conductor, and served until 2008, at which time he took on the title
of Honorary Conductor for Life of the orchestra. Esa-Pekka
Salonen, the principal conductor of the Philharmonia
In November 2006, the orchestra announced the appointment of
Esa-Pekka Salonen as its fifth principal conductor, effective from
the 2008–2009 season. Salonen had made his first conducting
appearance with the Philharmonia in 1983 at the age of 25, his first
such engagement outside Scandinavia: on short notice he took over
Mahler 's Third Symphony for an indisposed
Michael Tilson Thomas
Michael Tilson Thomas .
Salonen has since then conducted the orchestra regularly. From 1985 to
1994 he served as principal guest conductor. His initial three-year
contract as principal conductor was extended twice, through the end
of the 2016–17 season. In January 2017, the orchestra announced that
Salonen had signed a new, rolling/evergreen contract as principal
Vladimir Ashkenazy currently has the title of conductor laureate with
the Philharmonia. Past principal guest conductors of the orchestra
have included Sir
Charles Mackerras . In March 2017, the orchestra
announced the appointment of
Jakub Hrůša and Santtu-Matias Rouvali
as its new principal guest conductors, effective with the 2017-2018
The Philharmonia is one of the most recorded orchestras in the world,
with over one thousand recordings on such labels as
EMI , CBS ,
Deutsche Grammophon , and Naxos , and more recently several
self-produced recordings. One of its earliest recordings was the last
concert ever conducted by
Richard Strauss in 1947 in a programme which
included his youthful work
Antal Doráti conducted the orchestra in recordings for Mercury
Living Presence (Tchaikovsky Suites for Orchestra, 1966) and EMI
Bartók Violin Concerto No. 1 featuring
Yehudi Menuhin , 1965).
Esa-Pekka Salonen has conducted several commercial recordings with the
Philharmonia, including music of
Berlioz and of Schoenberg. The
Philharmonia has a partnership with
Signum Records , which releases
live recordings of the orchestra's concerts, including Lorin Maazel's
cycle of Mahler symphonies, Christoph von Dohnányi's recordings of
Brahms 's symphonies, and works by
Bartók , and others.
The Philharmonia has also been heard on the soundtracks of many
films, performing the musical scores of such classics as
David Lean 's
film version of Oliver Twist (1948). The Philharmonia recorded two
out of the eight pieces in the Walt Disney film Fantasia 2000
Rhapsody in Blue
Rhapsody in Blue " and "The Sorcerer\'s Apprentice "). More
recently, the Philharmonia has recorded soundtracks for such films as
Avengers: Age of Ultron , Fury , Thor: The Dark World , and Iron Man 3
The Philharmonia has recorded many video game soundtracks, including
those for all of EA Games' Harry Potter video games, as well as the
Fable and Medal of Honor games, Battlefield , Lord of the Rings: War
in the North , Star Wars: The Old Republic , and more.
The Philharmonia has been one of the most active orchestras in
exploring new ways of distributing its music, through live
performances available in a large video archive, which are also
distributed as video podcasts, and on Vimeo and YouTube.
The Philharmonia worked closely with Touch Press and Esa-Pekka
Salonen to create The
Orchestra , an iOS app which features
performances of eight works representing three centuries of symphonic
music. It allows real-time selection of multiple video and audio
tracks, along with an automatically synchronized score and graphical
note-by-note visualization of each piece as it is played.
Orchestra initiative involved a number of groundbreaking uses of
technology to share music, using digital initiatives, exhibitions,
installations, and pop-up concerts, to bring music to people outside
the concert hall
Herbert von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan (1948–1954, unofficial de facto)
Otto Klemperer (1959–1973)
Riccardo Muti (1973–1982)
Giuseppe Sinopoli (1984–1994)
Christoph von Dohnányi (1997–2008)
Esa-Pekka Salonen (2008–present)
* ^ Schwarzkopf, p. 91
* ^ Schwarzkopf, p. 93
* ^ Schwarzkopf, pp. 92–94
* ^ Schwarzkopf, p. 92
* ^ Schwarzkopf, pp. 260–277
* ^ "Philharmonia
Orchestra Announces Salonen As Principal
Conductor". Philharmonia. 21 November 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-06.
* ^ Martin Kettle (17 November 2006). "
London music on a high as
Philharmonia lures Salonen". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-02-09.
* ^ Martin Kettle (2010-11-02). "Esa-Pekka Salonen: \'Start again.
That was disgusting\'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-11-06.
* ^ "September 2013: Salonen Contract Extension" (Press release).
Philharmonia Orchestra. September 2013. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
* ^ "Philharmonia 2017/18 Season and New
Esa-Pekka Salonen contract
announcement" (Press release). Philharmonia Orchestra. 26 January
2017. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
* ^ "The Philharmonia announces two Principal Guest Conductors:
Jakub Hrůša and Santtu-Matias Rouvali" (Press release). Philharmonia
Orchestra. 30 March 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
* ^ Richard Strauss: The last concerts, CD issued by Testament SBT2
* ^ Tim Ashley (2009-10-09). "Schoenberg: Gurrelieder:
Voices/Philharmonia/Salonen". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-11-06.
* ^ "The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fift with His Battell
Fought at Agincourt in France". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved
* Hill, Ralph (ed) (1951). Music 1951. Harmondsworth: Penguin. OCLC
* Schwarzkopf, Elisabeth (1982). On and Off the Record: A Memoir of
Walter Legge. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-11928-X