Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra is the first professionally organized symphonic orchestra in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since 1923, the existence of the Philharmonic Orchestra represents one of the pillars of music culture and the music institution of the fundamental significance for Sarajevo and Bosnian region. Counting decades of work in the environment where social developments ruthlessly affect the cultural circumstances, the Philharmonic Orchestra has been repeatedly forced to start reprinting the pages of its history.
The main tasks of the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra were defined by efforts to perform symphonic music by national and international authors, encourage the creation of new symphonic works, contribute to the raising in quality of music performers, and satisfy cultural needs of citizens and in such, work with other institutions and organizations in order to raise the music culture and the development of music life.
During the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992 – 1995 orchestra continued with its concerts, in spite of the tragic loses and extremely difficult working conditions. Seven members of the orchestra were killed and twelve wounded in the attacks on the city. Music library was heavily damaged and many instruments were destroyed. In spite of all this Philharmonics continued its work and held more than 60 concerts, of that 20 abroad. Rehearsals were held in cellars, during the winter, with no water, no heating and only with sparse light of candles.
A kind of turning point for the Philharmonic Orchestra was a concert held on 19 June 1994, when orchestra with the great maestro Zubin Mehta performed Mozart’s Requiem in the ruined City Hall. Jose Carreras, Ruggero Raimondi, Cecilia Gasdia and Ildiko Komlosi performed as soloists. That same year, the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra held concerts in Italy, and during the following years, it held a series of performances in Austria, Turkey, the Czech Republic, France, Switzerland and Italy. After the war, the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra, renewed in personnel, and through the efforts of management the significant performances were achieved in the country and abroad.
Last few years, in the effort to nurture its future audience, Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra is dedicated to maintain its program of concerts and creative workshops for school and preschool age children, and especially for children with special needs and children without parental care.
In anticipation of its 90th anniversary in 2013, the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra continues to strive towards the goals set at the beginning of its existence, remaining one of the lighthouses of the Bosnian cultural scene and certainly, one of the most important links in the chain of the music life in Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.