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The PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA is one of the world’s great orchestras. Acknowledged as the U.K.’s foremost musical pioneer, with an extraordinary recording legacy, the Philharmonia leads the field for its quality of playing, and for its innovative approach to audience development, residencies, music education, and the use of new technologies in reaching a global audience. Together with its relationships with the world’s most sought-after artists, most importantly its Principal Conductor Christoph von Dohnányi, the Philharmonia Orchestra is at the heart of British musical life.
In the 2007/08 season the orchestra is performing more than 200 concerts, as well as presenting chamber performances by the Soloists of the Philharmonia Orchestra, and recording scores for films, CDs, and computer games. The orchestra not only returns to the refurbished Royal Festival Hall, but celebrates its eleventh year as Resident Orchestra of De Montfort Hall in Leicester, its eighth year as Orchestra in Partnership at the Anvil in Basingstoke, and the first year of a major new residency in Kent and the Thames Gateway, based in Canterbury. The orchestra’s extensive touring schedule this season also includes a weeklong residency at the Musikverein in Vienna, and appearances at more than 20 of the finest international concert halls.
During its first six decades, the Philharmonia Orchestra has collaborated with most of the great classical artists of the 20th century. Conductors associated with the orchestra include Furtwängler, Richard Strauss, Toscanini, Cantelli, Karajan, and Giulini. Otto Klemperer was the first of many outstanding Principal Conductors, and other great names have included Lorin Maazel (Associate Principal Conductor), Riccardo Muti (Principal Conductor and Music Director), and Giuseppe Sinopoli (Music Director). At the beginning of the 2008/09 season, Esa-Pekka Salonen will take up the position of Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra; Christoph von Dohnányi will become Honorary Conductor for Life.
The orchestra is also recognized for its innovative programming policy, at the heart of which is a commitment to performing and commissioning new works by leading composers, among them the Artistic Director of its Music of Today series, Julian Anderson. Since 1945 the Philharmonia Orchestra has commissioned more than 100 new works from composers including Harrison Birtwistle, Peter Maxwell Davies, Mark-Anthony Turnage, and James MacMillan. The Philharmonia Orchestra’s joint series with SBC, Clocks and Clouds: The Music of György Ligeti, won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Best Concert Series Award in 1997, and Related Rocks: The Music of Magnus Lindberg was nominated for an RPS Award.
Throughout its 60-year history, the Philharmonia Orchestra has been committed to finding new ways to bring its top quality live performance to audiences worldwide, and to using new technologies to achieve this. Many millions of people since 1945 have enjoyed their first experience of classical music through a Philharmonia recording, and audiences are able to engage with the orchestra through webcasts, podcasts, downloads, computer games, and film scores, as well as through its unique interactive music education website launched in 2005, The Sound Exchange (www.philharmonia.co.uk/thesoundexchange), which is now visited by almost 2 million people a year.