The Philharmonia was founded in 1945
by EMI producer Walter Legge, 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.
Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, in the heart of London, has been the Philharmonia’s home since 1995.
The Orchestra also 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 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.