After a long and continuous period of symphonic activity that dates back to 1845, the Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria (OFGC) 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 played with some of the foremost conductors, among them Mstislav Rostropovich, Antoni Wit, John Nelson, Trevor Pinnock, Thomas Hengelbrock, Pinchas Steinberg, Rudolf Barshai, Raymond Leppard, Leopold Hager, Jesús López Cobos, Christopher Hogwood, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Frans Brüggen, Bernhard Klee, Antoni Ros Marbà, Ralf Weikert, Sebastian Lang-Lessing, Andrew Gourlay, Iván Martín, Adrian Leaper (Principal Conductor from 1994 to 2001-2002) and Pedro Halffter (Artistic Director and Principal Conductor from 2004 to 2016).
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, Roman Trekel and Nancy Fabiola-Herrera, and instrumentalists such as Mstislav Rostropovich, Mischa Maisky, Alicia de Larrocha, Joaquín Achúcarro, Gérard Caussé, Dezsö Ránki, Maria João Pires, Fazil Say, Eldar Nebolsin, Iván Martín, Daniel Müller-Schott, Isabelle van Keulen, Katia y Marielle Labèque, Nikolai Lugansky, Sabine Meyer, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Janine Jansen, Steven Isserlis and Cécile Ousset have performed with the OFGC.
Due to the high level achieved, the OFGC 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 such as Granada, Otoño in Madrid, Contemporary Music in Alicante, Juventudes Musicales, EXPO 92, Madrid Capital Cultural Europea and in the seasons of OCNE (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, we highlight 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 Zurich, in 2006 to Japan, performing in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Fukushima and Musashino and in 2007 to China consolidating its prestige as cultural ambassador in the most important concert halls of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen and in 2012 the OFGC made a new and successful tour to Germany.
Recent highlights include the multitudinous concerts at the Gran Canaria Arena, at the Gran Canaria Stadium (with the performances Symphonicity, with Sting and his band, and Raphael Sinphónico), and at the containers terminal of La Luz Port in the Theatre, Music and Dance Festival of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria "Temudas Fest" with Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in 2013, works by Verdi and Wagner in 2014, film music in 2015 and a selection of Carmen together with the OFGC Choir and OFGC Children's Choir in 2016.
Other initiatives with the performance of the OFGC include Orff's Carmina Burana with La Fura dels Baus, the Orfeón Pamplonés and the OFGC Choir at the Canary Islands Music Festival and a concert at the Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial in the "Música al atardecer" concert series organized by Patrimonio Nacional.
The OFGC has performed with José Vélez in a benefit concert for the Obra Social de Acogida y Desarrollo, and with José Feliciano in the 10th edition of Arrecife de las Músicas at the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus.
La OFGC is commited with the performance of music in the municipalities of Gran Canaria. Latest concerts include the OFGC concerts at the Auditorium of Agüimes, Plaza de la Constitución of Agaete, Víctor Jara Theatre of Vecindario (200 anniversary of Santa Lucía de Tirajana), Auditorium of Teror (Saxophone and Jazz Festival and Fiestas de El Pino), International Trumpet Festival of Maspalomas (Auditorio-Parque San Fernando and ExpoMeloneras), "Concerts under the stars" at the Port of Arguineguín and the 200 anniversary of the parishes of Ntra. Sra. de la Candelaria in Ingenio and Moya.
The OFGC is resident orchestra for the Opera season in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
The OFGC is considered as one of the most promising projects in the Spanish cultural environment. The engagement with a broader society and with young generations in particular and the commitment with creative renewal are reinforced with actions and projects with a social commitment.
The OFGC has maintained an Educational Division which has been characterized 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. The OFGC has recently joined the Red de Organizadores de Conciertos Educativos ROCE (educational concerts organizers network).
Recent recordings include the complete version of Ginastera's Panambí, sponsored by the Cabildo de Gran Canaria and and the BBVA Foundation, and Cristóbal Halffter's Orquestaciones, both for Deutsche Grammophon.
For Warner Music the OFGC has recorded works by Falla, Korngold, Schreker and orchestrations by Schoenberg of Brahm's Quartet Op. 25 and Bach's Prelude and Fugue BWV 55 , twenty-five CDs with repertory from 19th and 20th centuries for Arte Nova and 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 and a CD dedicated to Tomás Marco.
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.
Günther Herbig is Principal Guest Conductor since the 2006-2007 season.
The OFGC is a member of Spanish Association of Symphonic Orchestras (AEOS).