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Philharmonia Orchestra

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About us

Based in London at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, the Philharmonia creates thrilling performances for a global audience. 

 

The Philharmonia was founded in 1945 by EMI producer Walter Legge, originally as a recording orchestra for the growing home audio market. We have worked with a who’s who of 20th- and 21st-century music. Herbert von Karajan, Otto Klemperer, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Arturo Toscanini and Riccardo Muti are just a few of the great artists to be associated with the Orchestra, and we have premiered works by Richard Strauss, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Errollyn Wallen, Kaija Saariaho and many others. We have always pioneered the use of technology to reach broader audiences for orchestral music. During the Coronavirus pandemic, we continued to create outstanding performances designed to experience online. We played for lifelong fans and first-time listeners in Brazil, Sudan, Indonesia, India, and high above the Arctic Circle in Norway.

Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, in the heart of London, has been our home since 1995. We also have residencies at venues and festivals across England: Bedford Corn Exchange, De Montfort Hall in Leicester, The Marlowe in Canterbury, Anvil Arts in Basingstoke, the Three Choirs Festival in the West of England, and Garsington Opera. Central to all our residencies is a Learning & Engagement programme that empowers people to engage with, and participate in, orchestral music.

The Philharmonia is a registered charity. We rely on income from a wide range of sources to deliver our programme. We are proud to be supported by Arts Council England, and grateful for the generosity of the many individuals who make up our supporter family, as well as the Trusts and Foundations who underpin our work. During the Coronavirus pandemic, we received grants from the Cultural Recovery Fund, along with support from individual donors, corporate sponsors, and audience members. This enabled us to support our players, and to create new online experiences for both audiences and Learning & Engagement project participants. In the US, the Orchestra’s American Patrons generously support the Philharmonia Foundation, a US-registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation.

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