Ever since its establishment in 1969, the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra (Vienna RSO) has focused on promoting contemporary music and staging (world) premieres of the works of Austrian and international composers both in Austria and abroad. The Vienna RSO also regularly performs rarely played and almost forgotten pieces of all musical genres. As a partner of the Vienna Musikverein and the Vienna Konzerthaus and one of the opera orchestras at the MusikTheater an der Wien, the Vienna RSO greatly contributes to the city’s reputation as the world’s capital of music.
1. A major part of the work of the Vienna RSO is cultivating New Music – with a clear focus on contemporary Austrian music. Its focus is particularly on pieces that are not part of the repertoire of Austria’s and the world’s symphony orchestras. The Vienna RSO thus plays an important role in Austria’s culture and music scene, which only an orchestra affiliated with public broadcasting is able to do in a consistent and strategic way. On average, the Vienna RSO plays six world premieres and four to six premieres every year. It also commissions Austrian composers to write new music.
2. As the sole Austrian symphony orchestra focusing on New Music, the Vienna RSO is firmly embedded in Austria’s music scene – as highlighted by the orchestra’s concert series across Vienna’s renowned concert halls and opera houses as well as prestigious festivals such as the Salzburg Festival, the ORF musikprotokoll, the International Brucknerfest Linz and many more.
3. The Vienna RSO honours every request to play by any radio or TV programme of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF). The orchestra’s rehearsals, CD productions and particularly its concerts are broadcast on the Österreich 1 (Ö1) station – supplying, on average, close to 3,000 on-air minutes per year. Thanks to the broadening of its repertoire, productions have also come to be regularly featured on FM4, the young people’s station, and ORF’s TV channels as well as online streams – in the past years, the orchestra played on TV for more than 500 minutes per year. Furthermore, the Vienna RSO also records signature tunes and soundtracks for the ORF as well as for Austrian and international film productions.
4. The Vienna RSO is committed to imparting the joy of music and a curiosity for new things. It closely interacts with its audience by explaining the artworks ahead of concerts and offering workshops and interactive rehearsal visits to school classes. It also created the “Warum Klassik?” (Why classical music?) podcast for people with little knowledge about this genre (20 episodes to date, broadcast via Ö1).
5. The Vienna RSO acts as an ambassador for Austria in the world – representing not only the country’s traditional but also its contemporary music. On its tours to Japan and China as well as through Europe, the orchestra plays both music of the Viennese classical era and modern Austrian pieces.
6. Diversity is important to the Vienna RSO. For this reason, all orchestra members consciously promote and support musicians, composers and conductors of all genders. At 40%, its share of women is higher than that of comparable orchestras in Austria. The Vienna RSO is also the only professional orchestra in Austria with a female chief conductor, Marin Alsop.
A total of 88 artists and 10 Orchestra Academy members play at the Vienna RSO at any given time, making it a place of work for almost 100 highly qualified musicians.