The Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, with its predecessors Academia Philharmonicorum (1701), the Philharmonic Society (1794) and the first Slovenian Philharmonic (1908–1913), proudly takes its place among the oldest orchestras in the world.
Among the many distinguished artists who have become honorary members of the Slovenian Philharmonic and its predecessor the Philharmonic Society are Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Niccolò Paganini, Johannes Brahms and Carlos Kleiber.
Since its establishment in 1947, the orchestra has been led by internationally renowned conductors, including Bogo Leskovic, Samo Hubad, Lovro von Matačić, Oskar Danon, Uroš Lajovic, Milan Horvat, Marko Letonja, George Pehlivanian, Emmanuel Villaume and Keri-Lynn Wilson.
Its greatest international successes in recent seasons include a major European tour (eleven concerts in concert halls in Ljubljana, Stuttgart, Munich, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Prague, Essen and Vienna) with a concert performance of Tchaikovsky’s opera Iolanta featuring the celebrated soprano Anna Netrebko in the title role, subsequently recorded for the record label Deutsche Grammophon. The orchestra also enjoyed resounding success with an appearance with Bryn Terfel at the Royal Opera House in Muscat (Oman), a performance at the Mahler Festival in Krakow, and appearances with Mischa Maisky in Slovenia, Germany and the Netherlands. In the last three years, the orchestra has performed twice in China, in 2018 it enjoyed successful return to the Wiener Konzerthaus, and in April 2019 it performed at the Zagreb Music Biennale with the Slovenian Philharmonic Choir.
The Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra has for many years been presenting concerts in Ljubljana’s Cankarjev Dom Cultural Centre within the framework of the Blue and Orange Subscriptions Series, as well as occasional concerts with the Slovenian Philharmonic Choir within the Vocal Subscription Series held at the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra Hall. It regularly performs in Maribor, Nova Gorica and other centres throughout Slovenia and in border regions, and is a regular guest at the festival The Kogoj Days, as well as being the resident orchestra of the Ljubljana Festival in 2019 and 2020. The orchestra’s New Year and Christmas concerts have become an established tradition. It also presents philharmonic concerts of Baroque music and a festival of contemporary music entitled Into the New Year with New Music. Young listeners and their parents are the focus of the Family Concert Cycle, which is programmed in the form of musical fairy tales or concert events with accompanying narrative and moderation. The orchestra also performs matinées for young listeners in cooperation with Jeunesses Musicales Slovenia and Ljubljana, as well as regularly collaborating with the Ljubljana Academy of Music, the Ljubljana Conservatory of Music and Ballet, the Society of Slovene Composers and the Ljubljana Festival.
The concert activities of the orchestra have been documented on more than 80 CDs and numerous recordings in the archives of the national broadcaster.