The Philharmonia is an orchestra based in London. Since 1995 it has been based in the Royal Festival Hall. In Britain it is also the Resident Orchestra at De Montfort Hall, Leicester and the Bedford Corn Exchange.
The orchestra was founded in 1945 by Walter Legge, and although it did give the occasional live concert, it was mainly intended to be a recording orchestra for EMI, where Legge was an executive. Thomas Beecham led its debut concert in 1946, but he was ruled out as a long-term conductor of the group when he tried to take control of the orchestra and change its name (Beecham instead went on to found his own Royal Philharmonic Orchestra).