The Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra (previously known as the Oxford Philomusica) enjoys a wide reputation as an ‘excellent’ (Gramophone Magazine) and ‘thoroughly impressive’ (BBC Music Magazine) orchestra. The orchestra is relatively new, having been founded in 1998 by its Music Director, Marios Papadopoulos.
The orchestra’s exemplary level and enthusiastic spirit has attracted many great musicians to perform with them 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.
Led by virtuoso pianist and conductor Marios Papadopoulos MBE, the orchestra is continuously searching for excellence. As a pianist, Papadopoulos has been described as ‘having all the attributes of one of the world’s greatest players’ (1975, The Times). His recordings of Beethoven’s sonatas are considered to be on the elite level of those by Schnabel, Brendel, Barenboim and Wilhelm Kempff. He has also emerged in the last two decades as one of the leading orchestral conductors. Papadopoulos has had the opportunity to work with many great musicians including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Hélene Grimaud, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Maxim Vengerov, Renée Fleming and Lang Lang.
Papadopoulos’ contributions to the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra are from the perspective of both a pianist and conductor, as he often conducts from behind the piano. Examples are the performances from the 2008 Beethoven Festival, in which he played and directed all five of Beethoven’s piano concertos. He made a repeat performance during the 2013-14 concert season. He also performed and conducted Mozart’s complete cycle of piano concertos during the worldwide celebrations of Mozart’s 250th anniversary.
The Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra has enjoyed a four-year collaboration with their Artist in Residence, the world famous violinist Maxim Vengerov. Vengerov made his debut with the orchestra in 2013 at a sold-out concert in Oxford. Soon after, he became the orchestra’s first ever Artist in Residence. Vengerov stated in an interview, ‘I feel a special bond with Marios Papadopoulos, the superb orchestra and the city of Oxford which, for me, creates a perfect environment for music-making. We have enjoyed so many wonderful performances together and I greatly look forward to each opportunity to return’.