About our Music Director
Marios Papadopoulos is the Founder and Music Director of the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra in Residence at the University of Oxford.
Described by The Times at his 1975 piano recital debut as ‘having all the attributes of one of the world’s greatest players’, Papadopoulos has gone on to enjoy an international career both as pianist and conductor. He has appeared as soloist with and conducted many of the world’s great orchestras, and worked with a host of eminent musicians including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Maxim Vengerov, Renée Fleming, Evgeny Kissin and Martha Argerich. His recordings of the Beethoven sonatas have been set on a level with Schnabel, Brendel, Barenboim, and Wilhelm Kempff (Daily Telegraph, Classic FM Magazine Critics’ Choice).
Having begun his career as a concert pianist, Marios Papadopoulos founded the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra in 1998 and has continued at its helm as Music Director ever since. Under his direction the Orchestra has gone from strength to strength, performing regularly in Oxford and beyond, and forging a strong relationship with the University of Oxford.
Described by The Times at his 1975 piano recital debut as having ‘all the attributes of one of the world’s greatest players’, Papadopoulos has gone on to enjoy an international career both as pianist and conductor.
He has appeared as soloist with and conducted many of the world’s greatest orchestras and worked with a host of eminent musicians including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Janine Jansen, Evgeny Kissin, Menahem Pressler, Maxim Vengerov, Renée Fleming, Martha Argerich and Lang Lang. His recordings of the Beethoven sonatas have been set on a level with Schnabel, Brendel, Barenboim and Wilhelm Kempff (Daily Telegraph, Classic FM Magazine Critics’ Choice).
Papadopoulos has conducted the complete cycle of Beethoven symphonies and directed from the keyboard the five piano concertos on three separate occasions so far – at the Oxford Philharmonic’s 2008 Beethoven Festival, at the Orchestra’s 15th anniversary celebrations in the 2013/14 concert season, and throughout the Oxford Beethoven Festival 2020 which celebrated the composer’s 250th birthday across two seasons.
Marios Papadopoulos has appeared as guest conductor and soloist with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus, European Union Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In March 2018, Papadopoulos appeared with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra at the prestigious Xinghai Concert Hall in China, where he directed a Mozart Piano Concerto Cycle from the keyboard over the course of three weeks. In June 2022 he conducted the Oxford Philharmonic in their Carnegie Hall debut in New York City.
In the summer of 2021, Papadopoulos published his first book – a memoir titled Beyond Dreams and Aspirations: My Journey to Oxford which charts his early career, the creation of the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, and his thoughts on musical interpretation.
A prolific recording artist, Papadopoulos’s catalogue includes his critically acclaimed Beethoven sonatas, performances of Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Wind with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Hyperion), works by Mozart, Mussorgsky, César Franck and the 24 Preludes and Fugues by Shostakovich. He conducts the Oxford Philharmonic in new recordings of the Brahms and Sibelius violin concertos with Maxim Vengerov as soloist. As a pianist, he and Vengerov have recorded the complete Brahms violin sonatas and also performed these in a recital at Vienna’s Musikverein. In 2020, Papadopoulos released two new recordings on the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra record label: Piano Favourites, featuring well-known works by Liszt, Chopin, Rachmaninov and more.
Papadopoulos is dedicated to nurturing young talent and imparts knowledge to young artists through his vast experience, particularly during the annual Oxford Piano Festival which he founded in 1999. He served on the jury of the Leeds International Piano Competition in 2015, as well as that of the Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition in 2016.
Marios Papadopoulos holds a doctorate in music from City University and is both a member of the Oxford University Faculty of Music and Fellow by Special Election of Keble College, Oxford. He became an Honorary Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Musicians in 2010 and was awarded Oxford City’s Certificate of Honour in 2013. Papadopoulos was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2014 New Year’s Honours List for services to music in Oxford.