The German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra is the most recently formed German radio symphony orchestra. Created in 2007 following the merger of the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra (SR) and the Radio Orchestra Kaiserslautern (SWR), two of ARD’s tradition-steeped ensembles, the orchestra has quickly made a name for itself and earned its place among the renowned German radio orchestras. Besides the vocal pieces, programme highlights include the classical-romantic repertoire as well as music from the 20th and 21st centuries. Commissioned works and German first performances by Andris Dzenitis, Dai Fujikura, Philippe Manoury, Robert HP Platz, Erkki-Sven Tüür and Xiaogang Ye extend the repertoire to contemporary orchestral works.
Since the 2011/12 season, Briton Karel Mark Chichon has been Principal Conductor. His contract has been renewed until 2017. He succeeded Christoph Poppen who had held the position of Principal Conductor since the creation of the orchestra in 2007. Stanislaw Skrowaczewski has been connected with the orchestra as the Principal Guest Conductor for many years.
The German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra gives around 75 concerts per season in Saarbrücken and Kaiserslautern, but also in the greater area where the three countries Germany, France and Luxembourg meet (Greater Region of SaarLorLux), as well as in Rhineland-Palatinate. The orchestra also performs concert series in Karlsruhe, Mainz and Metz. It has once again been invited to perform at festivals such as the music festival Musikfestspiele Saar, the RheinVokal festival or the Moselle Music Festival. It will also be making debut performances at the European Church Music Festival in Schwäbisch-Gmünd and at the Besançon International Music Festival. The orchestra toured Switzerland (2008), China (2009), Japan (2011) and South Korea (2012). In autumn 2014, the orchestra will embark on its second tour of South Korea, followed by a concert in Shanghai.
Among the soloists and conductors that the orchestra will be working with in the 2014/15 season are top-class artists such as the violinist Guy Braunstein, the cellist Alisa Weilerstein, pianists Gabriela Montero and Rudolf Buchbinder, the oboist Heinz Holliger, singers Elina Garanca and Angela Gheorghiu as well as conductors Reinhard Goebel, Myung-Whun Chung and Emilio Pomàrico.
The concerts are broadcast either as part of the Saarländischer Rundfunk (Saarland Broadcasting) or the Südwestrundfunk (Southwest Broadcasting) radio programmes, or by the European Broadcasting Union. On the television, the German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra can be seen in SR/SWR television programmes, as well as on the ARTE culture channel.
In addition to full recordings of the symphonies by Brahms, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Tchaikovsky and Gouvy, the orchestra’s extensive discography also includes several international award-winning CDs. Principal Conductor Karel Mark Chichon is currently working on a full recording of Antonín Dvořák’s symphonies, which will be released by Hänssler/SWRmusic. Symphonies Nos. 1 and 5 will appear in spring 2015. In addition, CDs have been planned with Ingolf Turban (French violin concertos, cpo), Simon Gaudenz (Dvořák’s cello concerto, Oehms) and Lena Neudauer (Mozart’s violin concertos, Hänssler). The German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra has recorded 2 CDs in the “Ballets russes” range published by SWRmusic.
With its educational project “Classical music comes to school” – a range of children’s concerts, family concerts and various music promotion projects – the German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra is committed to attracting the younger audience.