Radio Philharmonic Orchestra

The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1945 by Albert van Raalte. The orchestra was subsequently conducted by Paul van Kempen, Bernard Haitink, Jean Fournet, Willem van Otterloo, Hans Vonk, Sergiu Comissiona, Edo de Waart, Jaap van Zweden and Markus Stenz. In September 2019, the American conductor Karina Canellakis joined as chief conductor. The American conductor James Gaffigan has been Principal Guest Conductor since the 2011-12 season. Gaffigan's contract has been extended until the end of the 2022-2023 season.

Guest conductors
The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra has worked with many famous guest conductors, including Leopold Stokowski, Kirill Kondrashin, Antal Doráti, Riccardo Muti, Kurt Masur, Mariss Jansons, Michael Tilson Thomas, Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Valery Gergiev. The orchestra played the (Dutch) premieres of works by Messiaen, Berio, Boulez, Henze, Carter, Adams, Birtwistle, Adès, Janácek, Oestvolskaja, Verbey, De Raaff, Vriend and Rijnvos, among others.

Role in Dutch music life
The orchestra is in the service of the Dutch public broadcasting corporation and is prominently present in the broadcasting series NTR Saturday Matinee and The Sunday Morning Concert in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, as well as in the AVROTROS Friday Concert in TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht. In the Dutch music scene, the orchestra distinguishes itself by special programmed symphonic concerts and has also achieved a remarkable profile with concertante opera performances. First performances in the Netherlands and world premieres are regular occurrences.

Remarkable abroad
The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra occasionally performs abroad. Olivier Messiaen's masterpiece La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ, performed in the Netherlands in June 2008 by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Groot Omroepkoor conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw, received extremely enthusiastic reviews at the Musica Festival in Strasbourg in September 2008. With Jaap van Zweden, the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra was a guest at the Sun Festival in Singapore in October 2009. In March 2010, the orchestra went on concert tours to Great Britain, Germany and Austria. At the beginning of the 2011-2012 season the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Jaap van Zweden made their successful debut at the BBC Proms.

Records and CDs
The Radio Philharmonic Orchestra has built up an impressive catalogue of records and CDs. In the 1970s the orchestra made a number of legendary records for the Decca label, with conductors such as Leopold Stokowski and Antal Doráti. Under the direction of Jean Fournet, a series of CDs with French repertoire was made for Denon. Recordings of, among others, the complete Mahler symphonies conducted by Edo de Waart were released on CD, as well as a unique Wagner box set and the complete orchestral works of Rachmaninov. CDs with works by contemporary composers such as Jonathan Harvey, Klas Torstensson and Jan van Vlijmen were awarded prizes and honourable mentions. For the BIS label, a Shostakovich series was recorded, conducted by Mark Wigglesworth. Octavia and Challenge Records International released recordings of all Bruckner symphonies conducted by Jaap van Zweden. The broadcasting label QuattroLive has released acclaimed recordings of Mahler's Das klagende Lied, Edward Elgar's The music makers, Wolfgang Rihm's Memoria and Wagner's Lohengrin and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. In the 2010-2011 season, the series of Wagner operas was supplemented by a live recording of Parsifal, released by Challenge Records. Prokofiev's symphonies have also been recorded for Challenge Records, conducted by regular guest conductor James Gaffigan.

The Radio Philharmonic Orchestra received the Edison Oeuvre Award in 2014 for its indispensable role in Dutch musical life. In September 2017, the orchestra, together with the Groot Omroepkoor, received the Concertgebouw Prize for the important contribution they have made to the artistic profile of the Amsterdam concert hall over an extended period.


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