Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra

In 1945, when the newly established broadcaster “Radio Stuttgart” started recruiting musicians to form the radio orchestra, nobody could have guessed how swiftly this orchestra would develop and how dramatic its rise to artistic prominence would be over the course of the next few decades. Today the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR) is one of the state’s most important musical ambassadors, giving about 80 concerts a year in Stuttgart, in the area covered by SWR broadcasts, and in musical centres in Germany and abroad – often within the context of international music festivals. In addition to these frequent concerts, the orchestra also engages in numerous studio productions for the broadcasting station’s radio and television programme and for the recording industry. Since its formation the Stuttgart RSO has concentrated on two thematic focal points. On the one hand, with its exemplary interpretations it fosters the great classic and romantic repertoire of the symphonic tradition; on the other, the RSO is also a leading promoter of contemporary music and of neglected works and composers. In September 2011, Stéphane Denève was appointed Chief Conductor of the Stuttgart RSO. From 1998 to 2011, Sir Roger Norrington had been the Principal Conductor of the Stuttgart RSO. Norrington managed to give the orchestra a quite unmistakable profile by combining historically authentic performing practice with the means available to a modern symphony orchestra – the result of this synthesis has been hailed by critics all over the world as the “Stuttgart Sound”. The year 1971 marked the beginning of an important era in the history of the Stuttgart RSO, as Sergiu Celibidache was appointed Principal Conductor. Under Celibidache the orchestra made its first appearances on the concert platforms of great international musical centres. Sir Neville Marriner, who took over as Principal Conductor in 1983, widened the orchestra’s radius by undertaking international tours to Asia and the USA. Marriner was succeeded in 1989 by Gianluigi Gelmetti, who concentrated on the Italian and French musical repertoire. With Georges Prêtre, another charismatic personality presided over the orchestra. The first important conductors to work with the Stuttgart RSO regularly were Hans Müller-Kray and Carl Schuricht. From the orchestra’s early years, a large number of internationally renowned guest conductors have given concerts with the Stuttgart RSO, such as Karl Böhm, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Sir George Solti, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Herbert Blomstedt, Carlos Kleiber and Kurt Sanderling. Today, conductors like Daniel Harding and Gustavo Dudamel started working with the Stuttgart RSO. First-class soloists from all generations have given concerts with the Stuttgart RSO, among them Alfred Brendel, Maria Callas, Gidon Kremer, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Hélène Grimaud, Hilary Hahn, Sol Gabetta, Rolando Villazón and Lang Lang – to name but a few.