A word ("lover of harmony
") used in the titles of orchestra
s, but when used without qualification it means the great London
one, the Philharmonia Orchestra, founded by the record producer Walter Legge
in 1945 primarily for recording
Legge disbanded it in 1964 but the players kept it in existence as the New Philharmonia; it resumed the name of Philharmonia in 1977. In the Legge years many of the greatest conductors worked with it, foremost of whom was Otto Klemperer, principal conductor 1959-1973 (conductor for life). After him the principals have been Riccardo Muti 1973-1982, the late Giuseppe Sinopoli 1984-1994, and Christoph von Dohnányi from 1997.
It is now resident at the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank. In addition to having Dohnányi, they have given the titles of conductor emeritus to Kurt Sanderling and conductor laureate to Vladimir Ashkenazy. The visiting composer is James MacMillan.
Other orchestras with this name include the Philharmonia Hungarica, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra of San Francisco, and the Sydney Philharmonia.