The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra has been a cornerstone of Calgary’s multi-faceted arts community since 1955 and is one of North America’s finest and most versatile live music ensembles. A repertoire that is extensive and broad in scope consistently attracts acclaimed guest artists and conductors. From classical giants to rock and roll hits and family favourites, the Calgary Philharmonic offers an average of 85 concerts per Season designed to fit all musical tastes.
The Calgary Philharmonic was created in the 1955 merger of the Alberta Philharmonic and the Calgary Symphony. Performing in Calgary’s Grand Theatre to a small but enthusiastic audience at first, the Calgary Philharmonic gained wider attention in 1957 with the completion of its first home, the Jubilee Auditorium. As the audience grew and public acclaim heightened, in 1985 the Calgary Philharmonic moved to its permanent home in Arts Commons (formerly EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts) Jack Singer Concert Hall, one of North America’s most acoustically acclaimed venues.
At the end of the 2015/2016 Season, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning conductor Roberto Minczuk was named Music Director Laureate after ten Seasons as Music Director. Maestro Minczuk is firmly established as one of his generation’s brightest talents. He debuted in the United States conducting the New York Philharmonic in 1998 and in 2002 he was invited to assume the post of Associate Conductor, a post last held by Leonard Bernstein. A protégé of Kurt Masur, Maestro Minczuk has been invited to conduct extensively in North America, with highly successful appearances at nearly all of the major North American orchestras and many of the European capitals as well.
Past Music Directors of the Calgary Philharmonic include the late Mario Bernardi, who guided the Orchestra from 1984 – 1992 and led them through a period of tremendous artistic growth. He also led the Calgary Philharmonic’s first North American Tour which brought the ensemble to new creative heights. The tour garnered rave reviews after performing in some of the world’s best-known concert venues, including Carnegie Hall. From 1995 – 2003, the legendary Hans Graf became Music Director, leading the Calgary Philharmonic to its award-winning European tour in the fall of 2000, making it the first Western Canadian orchestra to tour Europe. In June 2006, the Calgary Philharmonic Society proudly bestowed upon Maestro Hans Graf the honourary lifetime title of Music Director Laureate in recognition of his immense contributions to the Calgary Philharmonic. Other past music directors and principal conductors of the Calgary Philharmonic include: Henry Plukker (1955 – 1962) Haymo Taeuber (1963 – 1968), José Iturbi (1968 – 1969), Maurice Handford (1970 – 1975), Franz-Paul Decker (1975 – 1977 – interim), and Arpad Joo (1977 – 1984).
The Calgary Philharmonic provides several different concert Series: Masterworks, Showcase, Discovery, Rush Hour, Pops, Specials, the Magic of Christmas, Fiesta! Festival, Calgary Phil Presents (a series where the organization showcases renowned artists), Symphony Sundays for Kids, and the Bach@Knox mini-festival. These series cover covering a broad range of musical styles and repertoire, appealing to a wide and diverse audience.
The Calgary Philharmonic serves as an active leader in the community, reaching over 20,000 people yearly throughout Southern Alberta by providing educational performances and outreach opportunities for students, seniors, and other charitable organizations.
The Calgary Philharmonic offers the unique cpossibilities program, designed for 14 to 29 year olds, created to enhance the Orchestra’s accessibility and affordability for younger audiences and to expand the Orchestra’s younger demographics.
Performing for more than 110,000 people each year, the Calgary Philharmonic continually reaches new heights of artistic excellence and looks forward to continuing to provide its audiences with the exciting live music experience.