The Pilsen Philharmonic Circle founded in 1882 became the first orchestra in the history of Pilsen. This ensemble played a distinctive role in the city´s culture life as well as prepared the platform for the later orchestra and culture life development.
Establishing the Symphony Orchestra of the Public Education Circle late in 1919 showed a fundamental step in the Pilsen Philharmonic history. Since the 1922-3 season, the orchestra had organized its subscription cycles, and it reached the highest number of subscribers in the 1925-6 season, having 940 subscriptions. In 1934 this body accepted the name of Pilsen Philharmonic (Plzeňská filharmonie).
The new era started in 1946 where there was established a new ensemble under the name of Pilsen Radio Orchestra, having the facilities in the brand new Czech Radio in Pilsen building. Throughout the years of its existence it has established firm tradition and prestige among the renowned Czech orchestras but it also became an ensemble in demand abroad. After Czech Radio reorganisation steps in 1993 where the conclusion was to dismiss all radio orchestras besides the Prague one, the Pilsen ensemble decided to continue its tradition as a limited liability company and later a contributory organization under the name Pilsen Radio Orchestra – the City of Pilsen Symphony Orchestra. Since August 1998 it has been a CSO (civil society organization) whose founder is the City of Pilsen and the ensemble accepted the name on the Pilsen Philharmonic.
The body has cooperated with the opera stars such as Ramon Vargas, Montserrat Caballé, Chris Pedro Trakas, Robert Swensen and many others. The Pilsen Philharmonic has toured the European and North American continents; it performed on the prestigious stages such as Herkulessaal and Gasteig in Munich, Tonhalle in Zürich, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Hall, Brucknerhaus in Linz, Auditorium Zaragoza or Rudolfinum Dvořák Hall in Prague.
Besides its concert activities, the orchestra takes a big part in recording for the Czech Radio as well as for foreign partners. The hundreds of recordings comprise Baroque up to contemporary music. The world premiere recording of Bohuslav Martinů opera The Day of Good Deeds, Op 194, counts to rarities and it has been awarded with many prizes.
From September 2008 to Jun 2013, the Pilsen Philharmonic was led by Koji Kawamoto, the International Competition Prague Spring 2007 laureate. Tomáš Brauner, the International Conducting Competition Dimitris Mitropulos Athens 2010 laureate, has been the chief guest conductor since 2010 and the new chiefconductor since September 2013.
The Pilsen Philharmonic is a member of ASOPS (Czech Symphony Orchestra and Choir Association) and since 2013 is has been the Smetana Days International Festival in Pilsen organizer.
© 2012 The Association of Symphony Orchestras and Choirs of the Czech Republic (Actualised 07/11/2013)