Walter Legge

1945

Founding of Philharmonia Concert Society

1945 : Founding of Philharmonia Concert Society

The Philharmonia Orchestra is founded in the summer of 1945, originally under the name ‘Philharmonia Concert Society’. The initial premise of the ensemble is to promote quartet and chamber music. Within months of its foundation the Orchestra enjoys a successful run of recordings. This tradition continues into the Philharmonia’s work today as one of the world’s most recorded orchestras.

Otto Klemperer, Adrian Boult, Walter Legge and Carlo Maria Giulini

1964

Legge attempts to disband Orchestra

1964 : Legge attempts to disband Orchestra

On Tuesday 10 March 1964, Walter Legge announces the shock suspension of the Philharmonia Orchestra. Members of the Orchestra react immediately and arrange an emergency meeting at a recording session with Otto Klemperer. A week later, the players elect their own governing body and re-establish the Orchestra under the name ‘New Philharmonia Orchestra’.

Music of Today

1980

Music of Today launched

1980 : Music of Today launched

The Orchestra signs a generous sponsorship deal with British American Tobacco, announced to press at the Savoy Hotel on 14 August. The particular brand linked with the Orchestra is du Maurier cigarettes. The Orchestra consequently launches Music of Today, a series which champions new music and contemporary composers to the present day.

John Wallace (principal trumpet) cutting the royal cake

1981

The Philharmonia plays at Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana

1981 : The Philharmonia plays at Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana

On 29 July 1981, Prince Charles marries Diana Spencer at St Paul’s Cathedral in a televised ceremony watched by over 700 million people worldwide. Prince Charles invites three orchestras to perform at the wedding: the Philharmonia Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Opera Orchestra. The newly-weds walk down the aisle to Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance.

1982

Friends of the Philharmonia created

1982 : Friends of the Philharmonia created

The Friends of the Philharmonia is established in March 1982 to help increase ticket subscribers by personal introduction. The scheme is a great success with improved audience figures and a rise of paid attendances; 22 of the 34 concerts sell out the following season.

James MacMillan

1991

James MacMillan is Music of Today's first Artistic Director

1991 : James MacMillan is Music of Today's first Artistic Director

James MacMillan becomes the first Artistic Director of the Music of Today series, marking the beginning of a long-term investment in new music. The Philharmonia Orchestra prides itself on its long-term collaborations with the finest musicians of our day, supporting emerging as well as established artists.

Royal Festival Hall, London

1995

Philharmonia invited to become Resident at RFH

1995 : Philharmonia invited to become Resident at RFH

Southbank Centre invites the Philharmonia to become a resident orchestra at Royal Festival Hall in 1995, alongside the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. This residency continues to this day, with Royal Festival Hall forming the heart of the Philharmonia’s London programme. The Philharmonia Orchestra now presents around 40 concerts at the Royal Festival Hall each season.

De Montfort Hall, Leicester

1996

Philharmonia launches its second major UK residency programme at De Montfort Hall, Leicester

1996 : Philharmonia launches its second major UK residency programme at De Montfort Hall, Leicester

This year marks the launch of the Philharmonia’s second major UK residency programme, at De Montfort Hall, Leicester. During this residency audiences for classical music have doubled and the partnership has proved to be a paradigm of its kind, with an active and integrated local community and education programme complementing performances.

1998

Celebration of 50 years of youth music in Leicestershire

1998 : Celebration of 50 years of youth music in Leicestershire

The Philharmonia Orchestra and Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra celebrate 50 years of youth music in Leicestershire with a special concert. With concert seasons continuing to feature world-class artists, and the growth of community-led projects, the Philharmonia looks forward to continuing its successful Leicester residency for many years to come.

2000

Sound Sample library & Sound Exchange

2000 : Sound Sample library & Sound Exchange

A grant from Arts Council England provides the funds to embark on the creation of a new education website, The Sound Exchange. The only existing collection of free sound samples by a symphony orchestra are created to form part of this site. They are still available today: www.philharmonia.co.uk/explore/make_music

The Philharmonia becomes Classic FM’s Orchestra on Tour

2003

The Philharmonia becomes Classic FM’s Orchestra on Tour

2003 : The Philharmonia becomes Classic FM’s Orchestra on Tour

The Philharmonia becomes Classic FM’s Orchestra on Tour.

PLAY.orchestra

2007

PLAY.orchestra

2007 : PLAY.orchestra

PLAY.orchestra, the Philharmonia’s first interactive installation, launches at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, with a set of 60 fixed outdoor plastic boxes arranged as an orchestra, each marked as an instrument. Sitting on a box activates a part within the orchestra. The seven-week run of this free installation attracts more than 250,000 visitors.

Playing the bass drum

2009

RE-RITE

2009 : RE-RITE

The Philharmonia’s new Digital Team produces a unique immersive installation, RE-RITE, funded by Paul Hamlyn. The semi-derelict Bargehouse on London’s South Bank provides the setting for a walk-through experience of the Orchestra playing Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. This award-winning project has since been taken around the UK and the world; in May 2012 more than 95,000 people in Tianjin, China, visited during a three-week run. www.re-rite.co.uk

Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle

2011

Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle

2011 : Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle

Directed by Nick Hillel of Yeast Culture and conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, this unique production features specially created films projected onto the set surrounding the Orchestra. The semi-staged production tours the UK and Europe in October and November 2011. It is co-commissioned by Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisbon) and Konzerthaus Dortmund.

Orchestra Unwrapped

2011

Orchestra Unwrapped

2011 : Orchestra Unwrapped

Orchestra Unwrapped launches as the Philharmonia’s flagship schools concerts series. Orchestra Unwrapped is for schoolchildren aged 7-11. The programme offers thousands of children the opportunity to experience live music in an engaging and exciting way, accompanied by the educational resources to fully understand it. Click here to visit the website

Unsuk Chin

2011

Unsuk Chin becomes Artistic Director of Music of Today

2011 : Unsuk Chin becomes Artistic Director of Music of Today

Composer Unsuk Chin is appointed third Artistic Director of the Music of Today series, marking its 20th anniversary.

2011

New Canterbury Residency

2011 : New Canterbury Residency

The Philharmonia opens the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, and announces its latest Residency series. www.philharmonia.co.uk/concerts/residencies

2011

The Orchestra app

2011 : The Orchestra app

In co-operation with Touchpress, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the publisher Music Sales, the Philharmonia produces the award-winning app, The Orchestra, for iPad. www.philharmonia.co.uk/shop/114/the_orchestra_app

Esa-Pekka Salonen runs with the Olympic Torch

2012

Olympic Torch

2012 : Olympic Torch

Principal Conductor, Esa-Pekka Salonen, runs with the Olympic Torch as part of the Torch Relay in London.

2012

Three Choirs Festival's Resident Orchestra

2012 : Three Choirs Festival's Resident Orchestra

The Philharmonia formalises its relationship with the world’s oldest music festival, Three Choirs Festival, becoming the Festival’s Resident Orchestra.

Universe of Sound: The Planets

2012

Universe of Sound: The Planets

2012 : Universe of Sound: The Planets

Universe of Sound: The Planets, runs for four months in the Science Museum, London, as part of the 2012 Festival associated with the Olympics. This new immersive installation builds on the success of RE-RITE and goes on to tour the UK in 2013 and 2015. Winner of the 2013 Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Audiences and Engagement.
www.universeofsound.co.uk

Firebird Project

2014

London Music Awards for Firebird Project

2014 : London Music Awards for Firebird Project

The Philharmonia’s Education Department wins the London Music Awards for the Firebird Project, in partnership with the Royal Ballet School, Hounslow Music Service and Richmond Music Trust.

iOrchestra

2015

iOrchestra

2015 : iOrchestra

The Philharmonia's largest and most ambitious audience-development and education project ever, iOrchestra attracts over 120,000 visitors from across the South West of England, winning RPS Award for Audiences and Engagement. www.iorchestra.co.uk