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San Francisco’s PHILHARMONIA BAROQUE ORCHESTRA has been dedicated to historically informed performances of Baroque, Classical, and early-Romantic music on original instruments since its inception in 1981. Under Music Director Nicholas McGegan, Philharmonia Baroque has been named Ensemble of the Year by Musical America, and “an ensemble for early music as fine as any in the world today” by the Los Angeles Times.
The Orchestra performs an annual subscription series in the San Francisco Bay area, and is regularly heard on tour in the United States and internationally. The Orchestra has its own professional chorus, the Philharmonia Chorale, directed by Bruce Lamott, and welcomes such talented guest artists as mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, countertenor David Daniels, conductor Jordi Savall, violinist Monica Huggett, recorder player Marion Verbruggen, and soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian.
The Orchestra has had numerous successful collaborations with celebrated musicians, composers, and choreographers. Philharmonia Baroque premiered its first commissioned work, a one-act opera by Jake Heggie entitled To Hell and Back, in November 2006. In collaboration with the Mark Morris Dance Group, Philharmonia Baroque gave the U.S. premieres of Morris’ highly acclaimed productions of Henry Purcell’s King Arthur and Jean-Philippe Rameau’s ballet-opera Platée.
Among the most-recorded period-instrument orchestras in the United States or in Europe, Philharmonia Baroque has made thirty-two highly praised recordings – including its Gramophone award-winning recording of Handel’s Susanna – for harmonia mundi, Reference Recordings, and BMG. In 2011, the orchestra launched its own label, Philharmonia Baroque Productions, with an acclaimed recording of Berlioz’ Les nuits d’été and Handel arias featuring mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra was founded by harpsichordist and early-music pioneer Laurette Goldberg.