InstantEncore
Biography
San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra has been dedicated to historically informed performance of Baroque, Classical and early-Romantic music on original instruments since its inception in 1981. Under Music Director Nicholas McGegan, Philharmonia was named Musical America’s 2004 Ensemble of the Year, and, according to the Los Angeles Times, has become “an ensemble for early music as fine as any in the world today.” The Orchestra performs an annual subscription season in four cities in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is regularly heard on tour in United States and internationally. The Orchestra has its own professional chorus, the Philharmonia Chorale, and also welcomes eminent guest conductors to its podium, including William Christie, Andrew Parrott, Jordi Savall, Gustav Leonhardt, Monica Huggett and Trevor Pinnock.

Under McGegan’s direction, Philharmonia has made several United States tours, including appearances on the Great Performers Series at Lincoln Center, at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, in Segerstrom Concert Hall in Orange County, as part of the International Chamber Orchestra Festival in Minnesota, at Carnegie Hall in New York, at the Festival del Sol in California’ Napa Valley and at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. In August of 2005 Philharmonia made its debut at the BBC Proms in London, Snape Maltings (UK) and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Philharmonia also appeared as the featured orchestra at the International Handel Festival in Göttingen, Germany, in 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2005.

Philharmonia has had numerous successful collaborations with celebrated musicians, composers and choreographers. In November of 2006, to mark its 25th season and the 20th anniversary of Nicholas McGegan as Music Director, Philharmonia premiered its first commissioned work, a one-act opera entitled To Hell and Back. Written specifically for Baroque instruments by Jake Heggie with a libretto by Gene Scheer, the commission included the unique combination of soprano (Isabel Bayrakdarian) and Broadway chanteuse (Patti LuPone). To Hell and Back received high critical praise during both its premier performances in San Francisco and subsequent performances at the Ravinia Festival in June of 2007.

With the Mark Morris Dance Group, Philharmonia gave the U.S. premiere of Morris’ highly acclaimed production of Purcell’s King Arthur in partnership with Cal Performances. This season Philharmonia will again join the Mark Morris Dance Group in a reprise performance of Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato. Other collaborations with the Mark Morris Dance Group occurred at New York’s Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Orange County Center for the Performing Arts and at Cal Performances with productions of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas; Vivaldi’s Gloria; Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato; and the American premiere of Morris’s production of Rameau’s ballet-opera Platée, which was the tour de force of the 1998 Berkeley Festival. Philharmonia has also collaborated with other Bay Area performing arts groups such as Alzono King’s LINES Ballet, the American Conservatory Theater, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Legion of Honor and the San Francisco Girls Chorus.

Among the most-recorded period-instrument orchestras in the United States or in Europe, Philharmonia has made twenty-four highly praised recordings for harmonia mundi, Reference Recordings and BMG, and also released a self-produced 2-CD set of music of Alessandro Scarlatti on the Avie label. The Orchestra’s live recording of Handel’s oratorio Susanna received a Grammy nomination and a Gramophone Magazine Award for best Baroque vocal recording in 1991. Since 2005, Philharmonia has been issuing a series of live and archival recordings exclusively over the Internet in partnership with Magnatune.com, and in spring of 2007, the Orchestra and Magnatune.com partnered with iTunes on PBO’s live recording of Beethoven’s Symphony No.9, now also available on compact disc.

The Orchestra was founded by harpsichordist and early music pioneer Laurette Goldberg.

Philharmonia is represented exclusively in North America by California Artists Management.
InstantEncore