Skip to main content

Our Orchestra & Chorale

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale presents audiences throughout the world with performances that capture the spirit, style, and distinctive sound of early music history. Recognized as “America’s leading historically informed ensemble” (The New York Times), The ensemble performs on period-specific instruments, presenting repertoire ranging from early Baroque to late Romantic, as well as new works and major operatic productions. The ensemble engages audiences through its signature Bay Area series, national and international tours, recordings, commissions, and education programs. Philharmonia was founded by Laurette Goldberg, led by Music Director Laureate Nicholas McGegan for 35 years, and Richard Egarr for the last 4 years.

Philharmonia’s musicians are leaders in historical performance and serve on the faculties of The Juilliard School, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Stanford University. The organization regularly welcomes eminent guest artists including countertenors Tim Mead and Anthony Roth Costanzo, violoncellist Steven Isserlis, and maestros John Butt and Kristian Bezuidenhout. Philharmonia enjoys artistic collaborations with The Juilliard School, Dunedin Consort, and the American Modern Opera Company (AMOC), and appears regularly at Lincoln Center, Norfolk Chamber Festival, and Tanglewood. In 2020, Philharmonia presented a fully-staged, reimagined production of Handel’s Aci, Galatea e Polifemo directed by Christopher Alden and featuring countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, bass-baritone Davóne Tines, and soprano Lauren Snouffer in eight sold out performances. Following seasons continued with fully-staged productions of Handel works Radamisto and Amadigi di Gaula.

Among the most recorded orchestras in the world, Philharmonia boasts a discography of nearly 50 recordings, including a coveted archival performance of mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in Berlioz’s Les Nuits D’été, and a GRAMMY®-nominated recording of Haydn symphonies. In 2020, Philharmonia released three groundbreaking recordings: a full collection of commissioned works by Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw, a selection of arias sung by rising star contralto Avery Amereau, and Handel’s Saul with countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen.

Philharmonia’s Jews & Music series has taken audiences on journeys of discovery of Jewish themes that have emerged across music and visual art over time, curated by Jews & Music Scholar in Residence Francesco Spagnolo.

The organization presented more than 100 virtual programs in its 2021-22 season, including the popular Live from Amsterdam with Music Director Richard Egarr, and What’s New and H.I.P. with Tarik O’Regan and Richard Egarr, focusing on issues and debates surrounding new music.

The orchestra, needless to say, was brilliant throughout, led by a full, rich string section, always the bedrock of this orchestra. The Chorale was superbly balanced throughout but with satisfying weight to the sound.

San Francisco Classical VoiceDecember 2019

The Philharmonia Chorale, directed by Bruce Lamott, dived headlong into the score’s rich harmonies, and the orchestra gave the music the necessary sparkle.

San Francisco ChronicleOctober 2019

Enhancing the performance immeasurably are the superbly proportioned, technically immaculate contributions of the Philharmonia Baroque and Philharmonia Chorale.

Opera NewsDecember 2019

To report that the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale gave a magnificent performance of the work…is both manifestly true and slightly misrepresentative of the achievement.

San Francisco Classical VoiceApril 2019

It’s impossible to overstate the brilliance of Bruce Lamott’s Philharmonia Chorale.

San Francisco ExaminerApril 2019

The singers and players were as stylish, precise and expressive as one would of the finest such groups in the United States.

The Chicago TribuneApril 2018