There are few symphony orchestras in the world that can pride themselves on a tradition as intensive and enduring as that of the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra. The geographical significance of Slovenia, between the Alps and the Adriatic, at the meeting point of the Germanic, Romance and Slavic worlds, and today forming part of the European Union, has permitted musical art to follow the musical trends from North and South and from East and West.
The history of the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and its predecessors Academia Philharmonicorum (1701), the Philharmonic Society (1794), and the first Slovenian Philharmonic (1908-1913) make it one of the oldest in the world. Among the many great names to become honorary members of the Philharmonic Society and the Slovenian Philharmonic are Josef Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Niccolò Paganini, Johannes Brahms and Carlos Kleiber.
Since its re-establishment in 1947, recognised conductors, including Bogo Leskovic, Samo Hubad, Lovro von Matačić, Oskar Danon, Uroš Lajovic, Milan Horvat, Marko Letonja and George Pehlivanian, have led the orchestra. For five years (2008-2013), established French conductor Emmanuel Villaume served as the orchestra’s Chief Conductor, and in September 2013 Keri-Lynn Wilson, a Canadian-born conductress with an international reputation, was appointed as the Musical Director, commencing in the 2013/14 season. In the seasons 2015/16 and 2016/2017 the position of the Chief Conductor was taken Uroš Lajovic.
The Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra has reaffirmed its reputation on numerous tours to European cultural centres and in the United States of America and Japan, as well as presenting itself at many renowned international festivals (Wiener Festwochen, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, The Prague Summer, The Warsaw Autumn, The Dubrovnik Summer Festival, The Ravenna Festival, MIDEM in Cannes, etc.).
Its guest performers include top names in the world of performing artists, including conductors Carlos Kleiber, Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Kurt Sanderling, Leopold Hager, Theodor Guschlbauer, Yuri Simonov, Serge Baudo, Hartmut Haenchen, Heinz Holliger, Matthias Bamert, Kenneth Montgomery, Heinrich Schiff, Matthias Pintscher, Vladimir Fedoseev, Sir Neville Marriner, Tan Dun, and world-renowned soloists, such as Luciano Pavarotti, Anna Netrebko, Bryn Terfel, Yehudi Menuhin, David Oistrach, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Sviatoslav Richter, Gidon Kremer, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Vadim Repin, Arthur Rubinstein, Ivo Pogorelić, Irena Grafenauer, Marjana Lipovšek, Dubravka Tomšič Srebotnjak, Bernarda Fink, Lazar Berman, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Schlomo Mintz, Fazil Say, Mario Brunello, Håkan Hardenberger, David Garrett, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Eva Johansson, Ramon Vargas, Christian Tetzlaff, Gautier and Renaud Capuçon, Leonidas Kavakos, Evelyn Glennie, Nelson Freire, Paul Meyer, Piotr Andreszewsky, Johannes Moser, Sarah Chang, Julian Rachlin, Valentina Lisitsa…
Amongst the particularly noteworthy events of the previous season were a European tour (11 concerts in prestigious concert halls in Ljubljana, Stuttgart, Munich, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Prague, Essen and Vienna) performing a concert version of P. I. Tchaikovsky’s opera Iolanta, with Anna Netrebko in the leading role, as well as the performances in the Royal Opera House in Muscat (the first time with Bryn Terfel, and last year with Bavarian State Ballet), and a seven-concert tour with Mischa Maisky in Slovenia, Germany and the Netherlands.
For many years, the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra has been giving 32 subscription concerts per season in the Gallus Hall of the Cankar Cultural and Congress Centre (the central national cultural institution), as well as presenting concerts on special occasions and musical matinees for young listeners.
The concert activity of the orchestra is documented on more than 80 compact discs.