Biography

ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien

Current as of August 2022

One of the world’s leading orchestras, the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra is a vital part of the Viennese orchestral tradition and is known for its exceptional and bold programming. Marin Alsop has been principal conductor since September 2019.

Each year, the Vienna RSO gives two series of subscription concerts, at the Musikverein and at the Konzerthaus, while also appearing at major festivals at home and abroad. The Orchestra has close ties with the Salzburg Festival, musikprotokoll at the Styrian Autumn Festival and the Wien Modern Festival. Regular tours have taken the players to Japan, China and, most recently, Thailand and Taiwan, as well as the USA, Latin America and Germany, where they have performed at the Elbphilharmonie and at the Philharmonies in Berlin, Cologne and Essen. Since 2007 the Vienna RSO has appeared regularly at the Theater an der Wien, gaining an excellent reputation as an opera orchestra.

Most of the Orchestra’s performances are broadcast on the radio, both by Ö1 and internationally. The Vienna RSO is also at home in the world of film music. Since 2007 it has performed contemporary film music at the yearly gala Hollywood in Vienna at the Vienna Konzerthaus. In 2022 it will perform works by Alan Menken, one of Hollywood’s foremost film composers.

The Vienna RSO emerged from Austrian Radio’s main orchestra in 1969. 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 a growing international reputation. Guest conductors with the Vienna RSO have included Leonard Bernstein, Christoph von Dohnányi, Barbara Hannigan, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Simone Young. Composers who have conducted the Orchestra include Luciano Berio, Friedrich Cerha, Ernst Krenek, Bruno Maderna and Krzysztof Penderecki, while the internationally acclaimed soloists who have appeared with the Orchestra include Khatia Buniatishvili, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Martin Grubinger, Lang Lang and Anna Netrebko.

The Orchestra’s recording activities include numerous world premiere recordings of early 20th-century Austrian music, as well as contemporary Austrian pieces. In 2019 the Orchestra’s live recording of Gottfried von Einem’s Der Prozess from the 2018 Salzburg Festival was awarded the Diapason d’Or and the German Record Critics’ Prize. The Vienna RSO has also won the Opus Klassik three times, including in 2020 for part of its complete recordings of Heinz Winbeck’s symphonies.

The Orchestra runs a broad educational programme, with workshops for children and young people. 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 University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.

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