Since 1998, the Oxford Philharmonic has brought inspirational performances to Oxford and beyond. The Orchestra prides itself on creating unique musical experiences, bringing new and engaging interpretations to well-loved works in the classical repertoire. Its continual search for excellence is underpinned by the uncompromising standards of its Founder and Music Director Marios Papadopoulos and maintained by some of the finest instrumental musicians.
The Oxford Philharmonic ranks amongst the finest orchestras in the UK and has forged close relationships with some of the world’s greatest artists, with whom it appears regularly. Among them are Maxim Vengerov, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Martha Argerich, Sir András Schiff, Evgeny Kissin, Angela Gheorghiu and Sir Bryn Terfel.
Violinist Maxim Vengerov became the Oxford Philharmonic’s first ever Artist in Residence following his remarkable debut with the Orchestra in 2013. Since then he has performed numerous times with the Orchestra, and has recorded the Brahms and Sibelius Violin Concertos, all three Brahms Violin Sonatas with Marios Papadopoulos as pianist, and the Mendelssohn Octet in which he led an ensemble of OPO Principals.
In addition to its annual concert season in Oxford, performances across the UK, Chamber Music Series, family concerts and annual Piano Festival, the Oxford Philharmonic is in growing demand internationally. It appeared for the first time at the Tivoli Festival in Copenhagen in June 2019 and, in June 2022, made its critically acclaimed US debut at Carnegie Hall.
As part of its Silver Jubilee celebrations in 2023, the Orchestra performed concerts in London at the Cadogan, Barbican and Royal Albert Halls, as well as overseas in Germany with Martha Argerich as soloist, at Vienna’s Musikverein, and in Dubai.
In December 2020, the Orchestra recorded a concert in a tribute to all those working on developing a vaccine for Covid-19 at the University of Oxford, including the world premiere of John Rutter’s Joseph’s Carol, commissioned for the occasion. The Orchestra was joined in its tribute by Sir Bryn Terfel and by the Choir of Merton College, Oxford.
Since its founding, the Oxford Philharmonic has been firmly committed to outreach work. Its projects bring music to areas of social and economic disadvantage, including hospitals and special schools, working in partnership with Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council. In December 2021, the Orchestra’s Sub-Principal Violin Jamie Hutchinson was awarded the prestigious Salomon Prize, a joint prize between the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) and Association of British Orchestras (ABO), in recognition of the educational initiatives she spearheaded with the Orchestra during the pandemic.
The Oxford Philharmonic was appointed Orchestra in Residence at the University of Oxford in 2002, the first relationship of its kind between a symphony orchestra and a higher education institution. In this capacity, the Oxford Philharmonic offers tuition and performance opportunities to University instrumentalists, as well as providing a platform for University composers.
The Oxford Philharmonic has appeared on several recordings, including cello concertos by Shostakovich and principal cello Mats Lidström for BIS Records, and albums of works by Nimrod Borenstein for Chandos (both conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy); A Merton Christmas with the Choir of Merton College; Haydn’s The Creation with the Choir of New College; and the Handel/Mendelssohn Acis and Galatea with Christ Church Cathedral Choir. The Orchestra’s most recent disc, The Enlightened Trumpet with soloist Paul Merkelo, was released on Sony Classical. The Oxford Philharmonic has signed an exclusive agreement with Platoon for a series of recordings to be released on Apple Music Classical.
A partnership with J & A Beare provides the Oxford Philharmonic’s distinguished members with opportunities to play on Stradivari instruments, adding a new dimension to the sound of the Orchestra.
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.
Piano Festival website: https://oxfordpianofestival.com/
Telephone number: 01865 980 980
Images by © Nick Rutter
Sheldonian Theatre, Broad Street,
Oxford, OX1 3AZ