Oxford’s Professional Symphony Orchestra in Residence at the University of Oxford
Since it was founded in 1998 Oxford’s professional symphony orchestra has become one of the leading orchestras in the UK. Praised as ‘excellent’ by Gramophone Magazine and ‘thoroughly impressive’ by BBC Music Magazine, Oxford Philomusica’s reputation is based on the uncompromising artistic standards of its Founder and Music Director, Marios Papadopoulos, and maintained by some of the very best orchestral musicians in London, Oxford and the Thames Valley. In October 2002 the Philomusica was appointed the first-ever Orchestra in Residence at the University of Oxford, a Residency which has recently been extended for a further five years.
From the start Oxford Philomusica has enjoyed endorsement of its mission from a remarkable roster of distinguished artists. In their 2011/12 season alone the Orchestra collaborated with musicians such as András Schiff, Hélène Grimaud, John Lill, Stephen Kovacevich, Julian Lloyd Webber, Natalie Clein, Craig Ogden, Benjamin Grosvenor, Mahan Esfahani, Menahem Pressler and Lang Lang.
The Orchestra’s achievements include its year-round programme of concerts at the Sheldonian Theatre, which attract consistent critical praise and loyal public support; an outstanding recording of Haydn’s Creation with New College Choir, which was the CD of the Month in BBC Music Magazine; major celebrations of Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn; and its annual International Piano Festival and Summer Academy. To these successes should be added the establishment of the hugely popular FUNomusica Family Concerts, and the Orchestra’s annual Summer Baroque Season. The Orchestra’s recording of the Handel/Mendelssohn Acis and Galatea, with Christ Church Cathedral Choir, will be released in the autumn of 2012 on the Nimbus label.
2012 saw the introduction of the Orchestra’s acclaimed Chamber Music Series, showcasing what The Times recognised as the Orchestra’s ‘glorious individual players’. The superb principal players of Oxford Philomusica have become a tight-knit family of like-minded musicians, enjoying the exceptional rapport which lies at the heart of fine chamber musicmaking.
Oxford Philomusica has been firmly committed to education and community work from its earliest days, bringing music to the widest possible range of audiences – often outside the traditional concert venue – to schools, hospitals, community centres and retirement homes. As part of its University Residency, the Orchestra collaborates with the Faculty of Music in educational programmes for the student community. The Orchestra’s partnerships with Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council provide performance opportunities and tuition to hundreds of talented young musicians, particularly through ‘Young Musical Talent in Oxford’ schemes and an annual Youth Concerto Competition.
Oxford Philomusica enthusiastically embraces its role of filling what Arts Council England defined as ‘an identifiable regional need’ for a professional symphony orchestra based in the area between Birmingham and Bournemouth. The Philomusica has been appointed Orchestra in Association at the new Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, and its Thames Valley presence is being further consolidated by new ventures in Reading, Bristol, Cheltenham, Basingstoke, Bath and Malvern. Beyond its home region, the Orchestra is rapidly developing a national and international profile with regular appearances in London and an international touring programme with appearances in France, Switzerland, Greece, Denmark, Belgium and Sweden.
‘The orchestra contains glorious individual players’