Definition of philharmonic in US English:



  • Devoted to music (chiefly used in the names of orchestras)

    ‘the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’
    • ‘I played with the New York philharmonic orchestra.’
    • ‘The introductory song was a philharmonic piece, featuring a full orchestra together with choral accompaniment.’
    • ‘The incredible score and music that adds so much atmosphere was provided by Michael Giacchino and the LA philharmonic orchestra.’
    • ‘He was recently invited to perform with the youth philharmonic orchestra, but declined in order to continue touring with the family.’
    • ‘From the classical to pantomime, from light operatic to sacred music, philharmonic orchestras to brass bands, musicals to pop, week by week Bolton displays its culture.’
    • ‘She played second violin in a philharmonic orchestra that happened to be visiting my town.’
    • ‘Venezuelan Victor Hugo won a competition at the tender age of 12 to perform in a philharmonic choir.’
    • ‘Under general director Sami Caner, the parent center also sponsors a chamber orchestra and a full-scale philharmonic orchestra.’
    • ‘Three weeks ago, I was playing with the philharmonic orchestra in Rotterdam!’
    • ‘Central to all this choral music were the philharmonic societies that sprang up in most major cities around Europe.’
    • ‘It also has a philharmonic orchestra and a host of annual folk music festivals held in different cities.’
    • ‘First, a musical overture with a philharmonic orchestra numbering around 60 musicians, and then 36 dancers, les Rexgirls, came on stage.’


Mid 18th century: from French philharmonique, from Italian filarmonico ‘loving harmony’ (see phil-, harmonic).