Lauded by The New York Times as “America’s leading period instrument ensemble” and celebrating its 35th season, PHILHARMONIA BAROQUE ORCHESTRA has been dedicated to authentic performances of Baroque, Classical and early Romantic music on original instruments since its inception in 1981. Under the leadership of Music Director Nicholas McGegan, Philharmonia was named Ensemble of the Year by Musical America in 2004.
The Orchestra performs an annual subscription season in the San Francisco Bay Area and is regularly heard on tour in the United States and around the world. The Orchestra has its own professional chorus, the Philharmonia Chorale, under the leadership of Bruce Lamott. It welcomes eminent guest artists including mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, countertenor David Daniels, fortepianist Emanuel Ax, violinist Rachel Podger, and guest conductors such as Jordi Savall, Masaaki Suzuki, and Trevor Pinnock.
Philharmonia’s recent U.S. tour appearances include Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, the Tanglewood Festival, the Ravinia Festival, the Great Performers series at Lincoln Center, the International Chamber Orchestra Festival in Minnesota, Carnegie Hall in New York, the Festival del Sol in California’s Napa Valley, and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Internationally, the Orchestra has performed at the BBC Proms in London, Snape Maltings, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Philharmonia appeared as the featured orchestra at the International Handel Festival in Göttingen, Germany, in 1999, 2001, 2002, and 2005.
The Orchestra has had numerous successful collaborations with celebrated composers and choreographers. In November 2006, Philharmonia premiered its first commissioned work, a one-act opera by Jake Heggie with a libretto by Gene Scheer entitled To Hell and Back.
ln collaboration with the Mark Morris Dance Group, Philharmonia gave the U.S. premieres of the highly acclaimed productions of G.F. Handel’s Acis and Galatea, Henry Purcell’s King Arthur, and Jean-Philippe Rameau’s ballet-opera Platée. Philharmonia has also collaborated with many Bay Area performing arts groups, such as Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco Girls Chorus, and Chanticleer.
In 2011, Philharmonia launched its own recording label, Philharmonia Baroque Productions. Its first release was an archival performance of mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson singing Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’été and Handel arias. Subsequently, its recording of Haydn’s Symphonies No. 104, “London,” No. 88, and No. 101, “The Clock” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance. Recent releases include three Haydn symphonies, Nos. 57, 67, and 68, and the first-ever recording of Alessandro Scarlatti’s La Gloria di Primavera, released on CD and Blu-ray in Spring 2016.
Prior to the launch of Philharmonia Baroque Productions, the Orchestra made 32 highly praised recordings for harmonia mundi, Reference Recordings, and BMG. Its recording of the Handel oratorio Susanna received a Grammy nomination and a 1991 Gramophone Magazine Award for the best Baroque vocal recording.
Classical KDFC in San Francisco continues to broadcast unreleased Philharmonia concert recordings the second Sunday of every month from 8 - 9 PM. KDFC is the radio home of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra was founded by harpsichordist and early music pioneer Laurette Goldberg.
Philharmonia Baroque’s May 2016 tour is made possible in part by generous support from:
The Ross E. Armstrong Baroque Vocal Works Fund
Kathleen & Martin Cohn
Dominique Lahaussois & David Low
The Waverley Fund