After a long and continuous period of symphonic activity that dates back to 1845, the Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria (= OFGC; Philharmonic Orchestra of Gran Canaria) was formed under the auspices of the public foundation of the same name. This foundation was created in 1980 by the Cabildo de Gran Canaria (Gran Canaria Island Government).
The OFGC has performed with some of the foremost conductors, among them Mstislav Rostropovich, Antoni Wit, John Nelson, Pinchas Steinberg, Rudolf Barshai, Raymond Leppard, Leopold Hager, Jesús López-Cobos, Christopher Hogwood, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Frans Brüggen, Bernhard Klee, Günther Herbig, Antoni Ros Marbà and Adrian Leaper (Principal Conductor from 1994 to 2001-2002) together with singers such as Alfredo Kraus, Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Montserrat Caballé, Felicity Lott, Matthias Goerne, Anne Sofie von Otter, René Pape, Petra Lang, Monica Groop, Cristina Gallardo-Dômas, and instrumentalists as Mstislav Rostropovich, Mischa Maisky, Alicia de Larrocha, Joaquín Achúcarro, Gérard Caussé, Dezsö Ránki, Maria-João Pires, Isabelle van Keulen, Katia & Marielle Labèque, Nikolai Lugansky, Sabine Meyer, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Janine Jansen, Steven Isserlis and Cécile Ousset.
Due to the high level achieved, the Orchestra has received many invitations to participate in the most important symphonic concert series in Spain: “Grandes Orquestas del Mundo” of Ibermúsica (Madrid), Palau 100 (Barcelona), Palau de Valencia, “Conciertos de Palacio” (La Coruña), as well as Festivals of Granada, Otoño in Madrid, Contemporary Music in Alicante, Juventudes Musicales, EXPO 92, Madrid Capital Cultural Europea and in the seasons of OCNE in Auditorio Nacional (Madrid), Sinfónica de RTVE (Teatro Monumental), Sinfónica de Tenerife (Auditorio de Tenerife), Sinfónica de Euskadi (San Sebastián, Vitoria, Bilbao and Pamplona) and Sinfónica de Navarra (Baluarte). The OFGC re-premiered the Himno a Aragón by Bernardino Valle as part of the celebrations of the Expo Zaragoza 2008. Continuing in the same line, the OFGC highlights the tour to Germany in 1997, including the OFGC presentation in the Alte Oper Frankfurt, and the concert held in the frame of the events organized by the Pavilion of Spain in the Expo Lisbon 1998. In 2001 the OFGC toured to Austria, Germany and Switzerland, performing in such venues as the Grosses Festspielhaus in Salzburg, the Philharmonie in Cologne and the Tonhalle in Zürich, and in 2006 to Japan, performing in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Fukushima and Musashino. The China Tour of September 2007 has consolidated its prestige as cultural ambassador in the most important concert halls of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
Maestro Pedro Halffter is Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, position that he holds from 2004-2005 season. Günther Herbig is Principal Guest Conductor since the 2006-2007 season.
The OFGC is considered as one of the most promising projects in the Spanish cultural environment. The effort made in the opening to new audience, supporting the youngest and the constant interest in a creative renewal are reflected in an extraordinarily wide range of concerts and activities.
The OFGC has maintained an Educational Division which has been characterised by an excellent programme of concerts for school children. Worthy of mention are the collection of musical tales under the title of “The Speck of Dust” for AgrupArte, directed by Fernando Palacios.
Over the last few seasons, the OFGC has recorded a total of twenty-five CD’s for Arte Nova label which include repertory of 19th and 20th centuries. Likewise, the OFGC has been carrying out a broad programme of recordings of Spanish music for ASV. This project has been awarded the Prizes CD Compact 2000 and 2002 for the recordings of works by Rodó / Obradors and Conrado del Campo respectively. The OFGC has also recorded the world premières of works by Juan José Falcón Sanabria, José Ramón Encinar, Enrique Macías and Fernando Palacios, together with a CD dedicated to Tomás Marco. After the success of its two first CD’s for Warner Music with works by Manuel de Falla and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, two new recordings played by the Orchestra and conducted by Maestro Pedro Halffter have just been released for this label: a recording of Johannes Brahms’s Quartet Op. 25 and J.S. Bach’s Prelude & Fugue BWV 552, orchestrated both by Arnold Schoenberg, and another CD with works by Franz Schreker. The OFGC has also recorded the Canary Islands Anthem as well as the CD offered as a gift from the Cabildo de Gran Canaria to Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and the Princess of Asturias, which includes works by Teobaldo Power, Richard Wagner, Gabriel Fauré and Pedro Halffter.
The OFGC was awarded with the “Can de Plata” of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria in the 92nd anniversary of the corporation and with the Premio de las Artes y de la Ciencia Canarios del Mundo, in the modality of Scenic Arts and Music, granted by El Mundo newspaper and the Cabildo de Gran Canaria. The OFGC is a member of Spanish Association of Symphonic Orchestras (AEOS).