The predecessor of the Philharmonisches Orchester Würzburg (Würzburg Philharmonic Orchestra) was the court orchestra of Würzburg, who had its golden age under Johann Franz von Schönborn at the beginning of the 18th century. In 1770 the ensemble included 13 strings, 11 woodwinds, 14 brass instruments and a timpanist. However with the adoption of Würzburg into Bavaria in 1814, so ended the age of court music. In 1804 some of the musicians transferred to work under Julius Graf Soden from the Stadttheater Würzburg, where Richard Wagner was the choirmaster almost 30 years later. In 1843 the city of Würzburg acquired ownership rights to the theater for 60,000 guilders. Particular highlights of this time were the appearances by Nicolo Paganini and Richard Strauss, who conducted his opera “Ariadne auf Naxos” at the theater in 1926.
In March 1945, Würzburg was completely destroyed and with it the theater. After a transition period working out of a former gymnasium on Wittelsbacher Platz, the theater was able to move into a new building on Theaterstrasse in 1966. This building is currently being renovated and a new hall is being added. During the renovation work on the existing building, the orchestra is therefore playing its operas and ballet performances in the alternative venue, the Theaterfabrik in Dürrbachau.
In addition to many operas, operettas, musicals and dance performances, the orchestra has its own subscription series with six symphony concerts in the concert hall of the music conservatory as well as various special concerts, including formats such as the New Year Concert, the Italian Night and the Mozart Festival. While the stage is regularly used for the family and youth concerts, the musicians also make music in the chamber music series in the Toscanasaal of the Würzburg Residence.
The communication of music to children and young people is of particular importance to the orchestra. Each season the orchestra participates in various projects especially for schools, such as "Open your ears in concert". The needs of our youngest visitors are also taken into account: baby concerts are a fixture in season programming.
For a long time, there has been an increased awareness of the issue of climate protection among the members of the orchestra. The musicians use a Whatsapp group regularly to form car pools and many use the bike to get to work. Since the orchestra does not tour, it can concentrate entirely on sustainability issues locally.