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The legendary record producer Walter Legge founded the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1945 in London as a recording ensemble that would set standards of the highest musical caliber. The Orchestra also enhanced its reputation through its public concerts and its tours, performing with Thomas Beecham, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Arturo Toscanini, Richard Strauss, and Herbert von Karajan. Under its Principal Conductors Otto Klemperer, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti, Giuseppe Sinopoli, and Christoph von Dohnányi, the Philharmonia Orchestra has toured throughout the music world, scoring memorable successes at the leading festivals, with performances in Lucerne, Berlin, Edinburgh, and Aix-en-Provence as well as guest appearances in both operas and concerts at the Salzburg Festival. Since 2008 Esa-Pekka Salonen has headed the Philharmonia Orchestra, which in the 2012-13 season gave a total of more than 160 concerts at its home, the Royal Festival Hall, as part of its residencies in various British cities, on its tours through the United States and Japan, and as the guest orchestra of the Bonn Beethoven Festival, where it performed a Beethoven cycle. Other significant highlights of recent years have included the project “City of Dreams: Vienna 1900 – 1935” (2009), the scenic adaptation of Tristan und Isolde by Peter Sellars and Bill Viola (2010), and “Infernal Dance: Inside the World of Béla Bartók” (2011). Over the past decades, the Philharmonia Orchestra has been responsible for premiering more than 100 commissioned works, including compositions by Harrison Birtwistle, Peter Maxwell Davies, Mark-Anthony Turnage, and James MacMillan. “RE-RITE,” an internet-based project in which the musicians appear as a virtual orchestra, has won such distinctions as the Creative Communication Award.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 8 August 1954 in works by Mozart, Ravel, and Brahms under Herbert von Karajan.