Established in 1998, the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra occupies a unique position within the UK orchestral landscape. Formerly known as Oxford Philomusica and hailed as ‘thoroughly impressive’ by BBC Music Magazine, its reputation is based on the uncompromising artistic standards of its founder and Music Director Marios Papadopoulos, and maintained by some of the finest musicians in the UK. As an orchestra of the highest quality, the Oxford Philharmonic attracts some of the world’s greatest artists to appear in its series at Christopher Wren’s Sheldonian Theatre, including Sir András Schiff, Valery Gergiev, Lang Lang, 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. Since then, Vengerov and the Oxford Philharmonic have undertaken tours in the UK and have recorded the violin concertos of Brahms and Sibelius – the latter gaining special permission from the Sibelius family to record the original 1904 version.
Praised as ‘a classy ensemble’ by The Mail on Sunday, 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 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; and the annual Piano Festival and Summer Academy. The Orchestra’s acclaimed Chamber Music Series and Summer Baroque Festival showcase 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 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, it 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.
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.