ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien
One of the world’s top orchestras, the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra sees itself as a vital part of the Viennese orchestral tradition and is known for its exceptional and bold programming. Classical and Romantic works and pieces from the first third of the 20th century are often placed in an unexpected context by being performed alongside contemporary works and other rarely performed pieces from other periods. Marin Alsop takes over as principal conductor from September 2019. All performances are broadcast on the radio, notably by the broadcaster Österreich 1 but also internationally.
Each year the Vienna RSO gives two series of subscription concerts in Vienna at the city’s Musikverein and Konzerthaus, while also appearing at major festivals at home and abroad. The orchestra has close ties to the Salzburg Festival, to musikprotokoll im steirischen herbst and to Wien Modern. Regular tours have taken the players to Japan, China and, more recently, Thailand and Taiwan as well as the United States, Latin America and Germany, where they have performed in the Berlin, Cologne and Essen Philharmonie and elsewhere. Since 2007 the Vienna RSO has appeared regularly at the Theater an der Wien, in the process gaining an excellent reputation as an opera orchestra. But the orchestra is also entirely at home in the world of film music. Every year it is conducted by composers who have won an Oscar for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures at its ‘Hollywood in Vienna’ Gala.
Among the conductors who have made guest appearances with the Vienna RSO are Alain Altinoglu, Leonard Bernstein, Ernest Bour, Christoph von Dohnányi, Christoph Eschenbach, Michael Gielen, Jakub Hrůša, Ingo Metzmacher, Andris Nelsons, Kirill Petrenko, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Hans Swarowsky, Jeffrey Tate and Simone Young. The composers who have conducted the orchestra include Luciano Berio, Friedrich Cerha, Péter Eötvös, Hans Werner Henze, Ernst Krenek, Bruno Maderna and Krzysztof Penderecki, while the internationally acclaimed soloists who have appeared with them include Khatia Buniatishvili, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Martin Grubinger, Hilary Hahn, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Gidon Kremer, Lang Lang, Sabine Meyer, Gabriela Montero, Anna Netrebko, Heinrich Schiff and Christian Tetzlaff.
The broad scope of the orchestra’s recording activities includes works in every genre, among them many world-premiere recordings of works by representatives of early 20th-century Austrian music as well as contemporary Austrian pieces. The orchestra has also released two CD sets, my RSO I and my RSO II, comprising 24 and 12 CDs respectively. In 2018 the Vienna RSO won the distinguished International Classical Music Award in the category Symphonic Music for its three-CD box, Martinů: The Symphonies.
The Vienna RSO runs a broadly based educational programme that includes workshops for children and young people as well as three other concert series, Mitten in my RSO, my RSO Musiklabor and Klassische Verführung. Since 1997 talented musicians have been admitted to the orchestra’s academy. The Vienna RSO plays regularly at the final concerts of the conducting class at the Vienna University of Music and the Performing Arts. In 2013 its educational project My RSO: Greatest Hits for Contemporary Orchestra was awarded the Bank Austria Art Prize.
It was in 1969 that the Vienna RSO emerged from Austrian Radio’s main orchestra. Under the leadership of its principal conductors, Milan Horvat, Leif Segerstam, Lothar Zagrosek, Pinchas Steinberg, Dennis Russell Davies, Bertrand de Billy and Cornelius Meister, the orchestra has continued to expand its repertoire and gain growing international renown.