The Canterbury Philharmonia maintains a playing membership of around 60 musicians and provides adult non-professional players the opportunity to develop and extend their playing skills in a challenging but supportive orchestral setting.
The orchestra's conductor is Mark Hodgkinson, who in 2018 celebrated 30 years with the Canterbury Philharmonia.
The orchestra plays a wide variety of repertoire including works by New Zealand composers. In recent years, concerts have included works by Beethoven, Britten, Brahms, Dvořák, Farquhar, Lilburn, Saint-Saëns, Tchaikovsky, Vaughan Williams and many others.
The Canterbury Philharmonia is an incorporated society and registered charity and is governed according to its constitution and rules by an executive committee of whom the majority are playing members of the orchestra.
The patron of the orchestra is John Emeleus.
The orchestra provides regular opportunities for younger soloists to gain valuable performance experience. Most concerts feature a concerto, and one concert per year features the Christchurch School of Music Canterbury Philharmonia Scholar from the previous year. The scholarship is awarded annually by the Christchurch School of Music and is sponsored by the Canterbury Philharmonia.
St. Andrew's College student Isaac Shatford performing the Bruch Violin Concerto in G minor with the Canterbury Philharmonia in 2013.