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History of the Luxembourg Philharmonic

Luxembourg Philharmonic
Gustavo Gimeno Music Director

The orchestra of the Grand Duchy, the Orchestre Luxembourg Philharmonic, represents a very dynamic part of the culture of its country. Since its high-profile debut in 1933 under the aegis of Radio Luxembourg (RTL), the orchestra has been present all over Europe. Publicly administered since 1996, the Luxembourg Philharmonic has, since 2005, been resident at the Philharmonie Luxembourg, one of the most prestigious concert halls in Europe. In January 2012 the two institutions merged both artistically and administratively.

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The acoustics of its residence, praised by great orchestras, conductors and soloists from all over the world, its long-standing relationships with other prestigious halls and festivals as well as its close collaboration with first-rate musical personalities have contributed to making the Luxembourg Philharmonic an orchestra renowned for the elegance of its sonority. Its standing has been confirmed by an impressive list of prizes awarded for some twenty CDs, all released in the last few years: Grand Prix Charles Cros, Victoires de la musique classique, Orphée d’Or de l’Académie du Disque Lyrique, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Télérama ffff, Pizzicato Excellentia, IRR Outstanding, BBC Music Choice, as well as several Diapasons d’Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique, Pizzicato Supersonic, Classica R10 and many others.


In the 2015/16 season, Gustavo Gimeno becomes the eighth Music Director of the Luxembourg Philharmonic (after Henri Pensis, Carl Melles, Louis de Froment, Leopold Hager, David Shallon, Bramwell Tovey und Emmanuel Krivine). Alongside the classical and romantic repertoire, the orchestra’s programme reserves an important place for music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: works by Olivier Messiaen, Wolfgang Rihm, Helmut Lachenmann, Luciano Berio, Ivo Malec, Hugues Dufourt, Toshio Hosokawa, Klaus Huber, Bernd Alois Zimmermann, Georges Lentz, Philip Glass, Michael Jarrell, Arthur Honegger and many others are regularly performed. The orchestra has also recorded the complete orchestral works of Iannis Xenakis.


The orchestra demonstrates its diversity with concert formats such as «Aventure+»; regular opera productions staged at the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg; film concerts like «Live Cinema» in collaboration with the Cinémathèque de la Ville de Luxembourg; «Pops at the Phil» evenings with such stars as Patti Austin, Kurt Elling, Ute Lemper, Gregory Porter, Dionne Warwick, Maurane and Angélique Kidjo, and open-air concerts with jazz and rock groups as part of the Fête de la Musique.


The 2015/16 season will include musical partnerships with soloists such as Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Kit Amstrong, Alena Baeva, Cameron Carpenter, Stefan Dohr, Isabelle Faust, Gilberto Gil, Anja Harteros, Leonidas Kavakos, Johannes Moser, Ann Petersen, Mikhail Pletnev, Menahem Pressler, Vadim Repin, Edicson Ruiz, Frank Peter Zimmermann and Jean-François Zygel,  and conductors such as Pierre Cao, Carl Davis, Leopold Hager, Timothy Henty, Eliahu Inbal, Richard Kaufman, Emmanuel Krivine, Andris Nelsons, Emilio Pomàrico, Adrian Prabava, Jamie Phillips, Roberto Rizzi Brignoli, Case Scaglione, Clemens Schuldt, Lahav Shani, Alexander Shelley,Stefan Soltesz, Maxime Tortelier, Juraj Valčuha, Christian Vásquez and Gast Waltzing.


Alongside its extensive repertoire and wide-ranging audiences, as well as the esteem of high calibre musicians, one further point links the Luxembourg Philharmonic and the Philharmonie Luxembourg: the importance they both attach to innovative education and outreach activities for children, teenagers and adults. Since 2003, the orchestra has created concerts and workshops for schools, children and families as well as DVD productions. It also performs in schools and hospitals, and, in addition, prepares school classes for subscription concerts with music appreciation workshops. Furthermore, it invites audiences to discover orchestral music with the help of remarkable presenters such as Jean-François Zygel in its «Dating:» cycle.


The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Philharmonic share a common spirit of openness towards Europe and the world. The 98 musicians hailing from some 20 different nations (two thirds from Luxembourg and its neighbour countries France, Germany and Belgium) are active throughout the Greater Region with numerous concerts and activities. Tours take the orchestra to many music venues in Europe as well as in Asia and the USA. In 2015/16, the orchestra performs in France, Germany and the Netherlands. Luxembourg Philharmonic concerts are regularly broadcast by Luxembourg radio 100,7 and internationally by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).


The Luxembourg Philharmonic is subsidised by the Ministry of Culture of the Grand Duchy and receives further support from the City of Luxembourg. Its partners are BGL BNP Paribas as well as Banque de Luxembourg, CACEIS, Mercedes Benz and POST Luxembourg. Since December 2012 a cello made by Matteo Goffriller (1659–1742) called «Le Luxembourgeois» has been put at the Luxembourg Philharmonic’s disposal by BGL BNP Paribas.

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