Philharmonia

Principal Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali

Principal Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali

Credit: Kaupo Kikkas

The Philharmonia Orchestra was founded in 1945, and has worked with a who’s who of 20th- and 21st-century music. Finnish conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali took up the baton as Principal Conductor in September 2021. The sixth person to hold the title, he is known for his expressive, balletic conducting style and irrepressible energy.

Herbert von Karajan, Otto Klemperer, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Arturo Toscanini, Riccardo Muti and Esa-Pekka Salonen are just a few of the great artists to be associated with the Philharmonia, and the Orchestra has premiered works by Richard Strauss, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Errollyn Wallen, Kaija Saariaho and many others.

The London Philharmonia van parked outside Hereford Cathedral

Worcester Festival

Credit: Michael Whitefoot 2021

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

In the 2022/23 season, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason is the Orchestra’s Featured Artist, performing around the UK and taking part in talks, chamber music performances and projects with young musicians. Anna Clyne is Featured Composer.

Principal Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali

Principal Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali

Credit: Mark Allan

The Philharmonia’s international reputation is built in part on its extraordinary 76-year recording legacy, which in the last ten years has been built on by pioneering work with digital technology. The Orchestra’s installations and VR experiences have introduced hundreds of thousands of people to the symphony orchestra. The Philharmonia has won four Royal Philharmonic Society awards for its digital projects and audience engagement work.

The Philharmonia is the go-to orchestra for many film and videogame composers in the UK and Hollywood, and its music-making has been experienced by millions of cinema-goers and gamers. It has recorded around 150 soundtracks, with film credits stretching back to 1947. The Orchestra releases live recordings with Signum Records.

The Philharmonia has over 1m listeners each month on Spotify, and a vibrant YouTube channel with over 126,000 subscribers. The channel features free performances; instrument guides; interviews with artists; and in-depth documentaries. The Philharmonia is Classic FM’s Orchestra on Tour and broadcasts extensively on BBC Radio 3.

Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay & Guy Johnston at the Three Choirs Festival 2021

Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay & Guy Johnston at the Three Choirs Festival 2021

Credit: Michael Whitefoot

Throughout its history, the Philharmonia has toured across Europe, Asia and America. In the 2022/23 season the Orchestra performs in Denmark, Finland, Italy, Spain, Germany and Switzerland.

The Philharmonia’s Emerging Artists Programme aims to increase diversity within the classical music industry, and develop the next generation of instrumentalists, composers and conductors.

The Philharmonia is a registered charity, proud to be supported by Arts Council England, many generous individuals, corporate supporters and Trusts and Foundations.

A team of 80 outstanding musicians from 16 countries, the Philharmonia looks forward to bringing music into your life, through great concerts and ground-breaking projects, for many years to come.