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Orchestral void

On its 60th birthday, the Philharmonia Orchestra is at its very best—so why isn't the wider culture listening? An interview with managing director David Whelton

By Stephen Everson   February 2005

When David Whelton took on the position of managing director of the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1988, there were some who thought he would not be long in the post. Self-governing orchestras such as the Philharmonia and the LSO can be unruly bodies at the best of times. Soft-spoken, polite, self-effacing: to some, Whelton, then only 34, did not seem enough of a bruiser to enjoy the rumbles of British orchestral management. Seventeen years later, however, not only is he still in the post but his time at the Philharmonia has been something of a triumph. The orchestra—celebrating its 60th birthday…

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