The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra has been an important and integral part of the community for over a century, tracing its roots back to the 1880s when the first orchestral ensemble was formed in Hamilton. In 1949, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra was founded as a professional ensemble, and has played an important role in shaping the cultural landscape of the City of Hamilton and the surrounding region. Under the leadership of Music Director James Sommerville, the HPO is one of the finest regional orchestras in Canada. In addition to collaborating with local and international artists and ensembles, the Orchestra presents an annual subscription series from September through May.
The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra is committed to enriching and serving the cultural life of the region. In addition to our concert performances, new programming such as the annual What Next new music festival brings the live orchestral experience to a broader range of people. As a key contributor to the development of a vibrant downtown, and a resource for the city in attracting and retaining the creative class, the HPO is an important part of this community.
Since its opening in 1973, the Great Hall at Hamilton Place has been the home of the Philharmonic. With a tradition of reaching out to the community, the HPO has performed at a number of other venues, including the Mohawk College Theatre, McMaster University, Gage Park, Spencer Smith Park in Burlington, and perhaps most famously, in Hamilton’s trademark steel mills. Other unique venues include Central Presbyterian Church, the Pearl Company and the Art Gallery of Hamilton.
The Philharmonic established itself as a major force through its association with former Music Director Boris Brott and through the contributions of other artistic leaders including Lee Hepner, Mario Bernardi, Victor Feldbrill, Timothy Vernon and Daniel Lipton. A number of HPO musicians have gone on to major careers – perhaps most famously, the Canadian Brass. Members of the Philharmonic perform with many other ensembles including the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, the Orchestra of the National Ballet and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.