The Philharmonia Orchestra of London is described by one young conductor in the orchestra’s podcasts as the Rolls Royce of orchestras. I’m inclined to agree. The Philharmonia was founded in 1945 by Walter Legge as a recording orchestra for EMI. It soon became apparent, with the cream of British orchestral players and conductors like von Karajan, Cantelli and Klemperer, that this orchestra was too special to keep locked in a studio.
I first heard the Philharmonia at a BBC Prom concert (Andrew Davis conducting Debussy and Stravinsky) in 1975 and have heard them many times since. My last attempt was a year ago to review Lorin Maazel conducting Brahms 3rd and 4th Symphonies. I missed the concert due to Air Canada’s marvelous over booking policy! In any case, I have followed the orchestra’s concerts with interest for almost 35 years. Today, its standard is as high as ever.
You , too, can follow along with the Philharmonia via its video podcasts, available free on iTunes and YouTube. They are very informational and entertaining, and produced at the highest level. You’ll get a good seat for rehearsals and info on all the upcoming concerts. What I really enjoyed most was listening/watching the members of the orchestra talk about playing, the life of an orchestral musician in London, the conductors and soloists, and the season in general. Workshop presenters and musicologists are also employed very effectively. All are totally natural in front of the camera. These musicians are multi talented individuals.
The London Symphony and Berlin Philharmonic seem to get the bulk of the social media love on Twitter and YouTube, but do check out the great Philharmonia’s podcasts and online shop. They, like the LSO and BPO (and Chicago, St. Louis, etc), are producing homegrown CDs and downloads.
All can be found via their website.