Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra

RPS Corporate Member

The Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the leading orchestras in the UK. Praised as ‘excellent’ by Gramophone Magazine and ‘thoroughly impressive’ by BBC Music Magazine, the Orchestra’s 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.

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 Cheltenham Music Festival and Saffron Hall 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 The Choir of New College, and the Handel/Mendelssohn Acis and Galatea with Christ Church Cathedral 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.

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. The Oxford Philharmonic collaborates with the Faculty of Music in educational programmes for the student community. 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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Ricardo Castro: International pianist who established a flourishing youth music programme in Bahià, Brazil. Awarded RPS Honorary Membership in 2013.


The Philharmonic Society was founded by professional musicians in 1813 to perform publicly ‘in the most perfect manner possible, the best and most approved music'.