Established in 1998 and formerly known as Oxford Philomusica, the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra occupies a unique position within the UK orchestral landscape. As an orchestra of the highest quality, the Oxford Philharmonic attracts some of the world’s greatest artists to appear in its series at Sir Christopher Wren’s Sheldonian Theatre, including Sir András Schiff, Martha Argerich, Valery Gergiev, Lang Lang, Janine Jansen, Maria-João Pires, Renée Fleming, Pinchas Zukerman, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Nigel Kennedy.
Following his remarkable Oxford debut with the Orchestra in 2013, world-renowned violinist Maxim Vengerov became its first Artist in Residence. Over an unprecedented four-season collaboration, Vengerov and the Oxford Philharmonic performed across the UK and have recorded the violin concertos of Brahms and Sibelius. With a commercial release pending, both recordings have received exclusive plays on BBC Radio 3, Classic FM and the leading classical station in the United States, WQXR. Future projects with Vengerov include a recording of Mendelssohn’s Octet and an appearance at a major UK summer festival in July 2018 with the Soloists of the Oxford Philharmonic – a tight-knit group of musicians described by The Times as the ensemble’s ‘glorious individual players’.
The Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra’s many achievements to date include extensive annual concert seasons in Oxford, touring performances across the UK and a growing list of international engagements; acclaimed recordings of Haydn’s The Creation with New College Choir, and the Handel/Mendelssohn Acis and Galatea with Christ Church Choir; major anniversary celebrations of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven; family concerts; the annual Piano Festival and Summer Academy and the Orchestra’s acclaimed Chamber Music Series showcasing The Soloists of the Oxford Philharmonic.
The Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra has been firmly committed to outreach work from its earliest days. Its various projects focus on taking music to areas of social and economic disadvantage, including work in special schools and hospitals. In 2002, the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra was appointed as the University of Oxford’s first ever Orchestra in Residence. As part of its University Residency, the Oxford Philharmonic collaborates with the Faculty of Music in educational programmes for the student community, while partnerships with Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council provide tuition and performance opportunities for hundreds of talented young musicians each season.
The Orchestra and its Music Director were awarded the City of Oxford’s Certificate of Honour in 2013, in recognition of their contribution to education and performance in Oxford.
The continual search for excellence underpins the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra’s reputation and is reflected in an orchestra that strives to create bold musical statements with every concert it presents.
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