Our Mission Statement
To enrich the wellbeing of the greater Hamilton region by engaging, educating and inspiring the community through outstanding professional orchestral music.
The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra is situated upon the traditional territories of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas. This land is covered by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, which was an agreement between the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabek to share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. We further acknowledge that this land is covered by the Between the Lakes Purchase, 1792, between the Crown and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Today, the City of Hamilton is home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island (North America) and we recognize that we must do more to learn about the rich history of this land so that we can better understand our roles as residents, neighbours, partners and caretakers.
Our programming is guided by our four strategic pillars: Artistic Excellence, Education, Wellbeing and Community Engagement.
Enriching the cultural life of our region through high-calibre performances.
Through our Mainstage concert series at FirstOntario Concert Hall, Music Director Gemma New and our professional musicians present dynamic orchestral performances ranging from standard classical repertoire to world premieres by living composers.
Gemma New is internationally acclaimed, bringing insightful interpretations and a strong vision to our season programming. Our core of professional musicians are mainstays of the southern Ontario music industry; many are frequently engaged by the National Ballet of Canada, Canadian Opera Company, Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, and professional orchestras and ensembles across the country. Our orchestra is frequently joined on stage by international soloists as well as local talent.
Contributing to wellness through shared music experiences.
Regardless of level of training, our relationship to music is meaningful and powerful. Shared experiences through music can contribute to maintaining and enhancing our sense of wellbeing. Through accessible programming for community members of all ages, the HPO is committed to promoting wellbeing through music in new and innovative ways.
Our Seniors Connect program combats social isolation in our community, inviting older adults to attend our concerts and building relationships through a shared interest in music. The Memory Café program offers a relaxed environment for older adults with memory issues to enjoy music. Our Wellbeing partners include Caroline Place, Hamilton Public Library, McMaster University’s LIVELab and YWCA.
Serving our region through collaboration.
The HPO believes that everyone should have access to musical experiences. Working closely with community partners, we develop performances and programs tailored to serve the needs of our local community. We strive to reduce barriers to orchestral music and offer a diverse range of programming.
We offer free talks and performances at local parks, library branches, seniors’ centres, long-term care residences, art galleries, malls, cultural festivals, community events and more. Our participatory events for community musicians of all ages and skill levels offer opportunities for growth and collective musicmaking. Our Community Engagement partners include City Housing, Centre for Skills Development, Hamilton and Burlington Public Libraries, and YWCA.
Our Music Director
Sought after for her insightful interpretations and dynamic presence, New Zealand-born Gemma New is a leader among the new generation of conductors. As Music Director since the 15-16 Season, she has committed to deepening the artistic level of the orchestra and expanding its reach in the community.