The ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra is a top orchestra of world renown.
Image Film Vienna RSO
Photo Credits: Lera Auerbach (c) Lera Auerbach | Marin Alsop (c) Adriane White | Angelika Möser (c) Julia Wesely | Friedrich Cerha (c) Kurier/Juerg Christandl | Dennis Russell Davies (c) Benno Hunziker | Cornelius Meister (c) Marco Borggreve | Ingo Metzmacher (c) Ingo Metzmacher
It defines itself in the Vienna orchestral tradition. Marin Alsop took over as Chief Conductor in September 2019. The Vienna RSO is known for its exceptional, bold programming. By combining nineteenth-century repertoire with contemporary pieces and rarely performed works of other periods, the programming often places Romantic era classics in unexpected contexts.
The Vienna RSO regularly performs in two subscription series in Vienna, in the Musikverein and the Konzerthaus. In addition, it appears every year at major Austrian and international festivals. The orchestra has close ties to the Salzburg Festival, musikprotokoll im steirischen herbst and Wien Modern. Tours to Japan and China are a regular part of the Vienna RSO schedule as well. The orchestra has also played concerts in Thailand and Taiwan as well as the USA, South America, Spain and Germany at the Berlin, Cologne and Essen Philharmonic Halls and at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg among others. 2022 the orchestra gave its debut at the BBC Proms; 2023 at the Philharmonie de Paris. Since 2007, the Vienna RSO has successfully collaborated with the Theater an der Wien, thereby gaining an excellent reputation as an opera orchestra. Yet the Vienna RSO is also entirely at home in the film music genre. In 2012, the Vienna RSO recorded the soundtrack to the film Die Vermessung der Welt (Measuring the World) and in 2016 to Kater (Tomcat) by Händl Klaus, winner of the Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. The soundtrack of the remake of “Peterchens Mondfahrt” (“Moonbound”) by Ali N. Askin was recorded in 2020, the film was in the cinemas in spring 2022. Until 2022 the orchestra was conducted by composers who have won an Oscar for Best Achievement in Music written for Motion Pictures at the “Hollywood in Vienna” Gala every year. In 2019 the live recording was released as “The world of Hans Zimmer” by Sony Classical.
Most of the Vienna RSO performances are broadcast on the radio, particularly on the Österreich 1 station, but also internationally. Moreover, it has been possible to hear the Vienna RSO online for one week after the initial broadcast. Through its growing presence on television, as well as its collaboration with the FM4 young people's station, the Vienna RSO is constantly reaching out to new music lovers; most recently in December 2021 in an FM4 radio session together with the indie rock duo "Cari Cari". Approximately 700 fans support the “Friends of the RSO” association.
Alain Altinoglu, Leonard Bernstein, Ernest Bour, Elim Chan, Christoph von Dohnányi, Christoph Eschenbach, Michael Gielen, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Jakub Hrůša, Susanna Mälkki, Joana Mallwitz, Ingo Metzmacher, Marc Minkowski, Kent Nagano, Andris Nelsons, Kirill Petrenko, Markus Poschner, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Hans Swarowsky, Lorenzo Viotti and Simone Young are among the guests who have stood on the podium of the Vienna RSO. Composers Thomas Adès, Luciano Berio, Friedrich Cerha, Peter Eötvös, HK Gruber, Hans Werner Henze, Ernst Krenek, Bruno Maderna and Krzysztof Penderecki have all conducted the orchestra. Internationally renowned soloists who make regular appearances with the Vienna RSO include Renaud und Gautier Capuçon, Christian Gerhaher, Martin Grubinger, Hilary Hahn, Igor Levit, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Gidon Kremer, Lang Lang, Sabine Meyer, Gabriela Montero, Anna Netrebko, Fazil Say, Daniil Trifonov, Christian Tetzlaff, Maxim Vengerov and Alisa Weilerstein.
The broad scope of the Vienna RSO’s recording activities includes works in every genre, among them many first recordings that represent modern Austrian classicists and contemporary Austrian composers. This is how the Neue Musik aus Österreich series of CD recordings came about. Orchestral works by Friedrich Cerha, the recording of all nine symphonies by Egon Wellesz and first recordings of music by Erich Zeisl are all part of this series. In 2012 and 2016 two CD sets my RSO I and my RSO II with twenty-four and twelve CDs were released. In 2019 the Live-recording of Gottfried von Einem‘s Der Prozess, performed at the Salzburg Festival 2018, was awarded the “Diapason d’Or“ and the “Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik”. In 2018 the Vienna RSO won the renowned ICMA in the category »Symphonic Music« for its 3-CD-set »Martinů: The Symphonies«. Five CDs of the Vienna RSO received an Opus Klassik, most recently for the two violin concertos by Sergei Prokofiev with Tianwa Yang. The orchestra is currently recording complete editions of the symphonies of Anton Bruckner (with Markus Poschner) and Miloslav Kabeláč (with Jakub Hrůša).
The Vienna RSO has also launched a broad-based educational program, comprising workshops for children and young people, as well as the Inside my RSO, my RSO music lab, and Classical Temptation concert series. Highly talented musicians have been admitted to the orchestra’s own academy since 1997. The Vienna RSO plays regularly for the final concerts of the conducting classes at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.
The Vienna RSO grew out of Austrian radio’s main orchestra in 1969. Under the leadership of its chief conductors, Milan Horvat, Leif Segerstam, Lothar Zagrosek, Pinchas Steinberg, Dennis Russell Davies, Bertrand de Billy and Cornelius Meister, the orchestra has continuously expanded its repertoire, gaining growing international renown.