The Philharmonic Society Inc. was founded in West Auckland in 1972 by Joe Isbister with the purpose of fostering the enjoyment of music-making and performing.
In its earlier years (first known as the Henderson Chamber Orchestra), this group played for many light opera productions throughout the city. In time it developed into a community orchestra, offering an opportunity for keen amateurs to rehearse together on a regular basis.
Joe’s wife Eleanor and children have always played a major role in the orchestra and currently some of his grandchildren continue the family tradition.
Since 1980 the orchestra has been based centrally in Parnell but is poised to move to new premises.
Following the sudden death of founder Joe Isbister in 2006, his daughter Joanne Johnston was appointed Musical Director.
Today the PSO has over 45 enthusiastic players young and old who have the opportunity to play for enjoyment while developing and extending their playing skills in a supportive environment. The orchestra performs four free public concerts each year. Recently featured guest artists have included Wind Quintet ‘Vent’, Auckland Boys’ Choir, Michael Park School musicians, Piano Trio Pohadka and Gu Zheng player Amy Yi Zhang.
The orchestra offers players and audiences a wide variety of repertoire from orchestral classics to pops, show and film music.