The Danish National Symphony Orchestra was founded as a radio orchestra in 1925 in connection with the start of the Danish broadcasting corporation DR, and today consists of 99 musicians. From 2004 to 2012 its chief conductor has been Thomas Dausgaard, the first Dane to hold the post. In 2012 Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos became the new chief conductor. The orchestra is based in the DR Concert Hall, one of Europe's most spectacular venues, which opened in 2009. It was the work of the French architect Jean Nouvel with acoustics designed by Yasuhisa Toyota. The combination of the fantastic concert hall and Thomas Dausgaard's dynamic, innovative leadership has initiated a new era for the Danish National Symphony Orchestra.
Earlier conductors of the orchestra include Gerd Albrecht, Leif Segerstam and Lamberto Gardelli. The orchestra's honorary conductor is Herbert Blomstedt, who was principal conductor in 1967-1977. The orchestra's most recent principal guest conductors have been Yuri Temirkanov, Michael Schonwandt and Dmitry Kitayenko. Two legendary conductors built the orchestra up in its early years: Fritz Busch and the Russian Nicolai Malko, whom the orchestra honours with the international Malko Competition for Young Conductors. Other major conductors with whom the Danish National Symphony Orchestra has worked regularly are Sergiu Celibidache, Kurt Sanderling, Marek Janowski, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Gary Bertini, Christopher Hogwood and Paul McCreesh.
The orchestra's strong, straightforward musical personality has its roots in its close relations with Danish and Nordic music. The Danish National Symphony Orchestra is the leading Carl Nielsen orchestra in the world, and often takes Nielsen's music on tour abroad. For half a century the orchestra's Carl Nielsen recordings have been normative.
The leading Scandinavian symphonist of our time, Per Nørgård, has had most of his symphonies premiered by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Nørgård is also the only honorary member of the orchestra. The Danish National Symphony Orchestra tours both in Denmark and abroad. In recent years the orchestra has appeared in China and Korea and has toured to Europe's finest concert halls such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Philharmonie in Berlin and the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris and has performed at festivals like the BBC Proms, the Salzburg Festival and Prague Spring. It has recorded innumerable CDs for labels likeDacapo, Decca andChandos and has received honours for its recordings from all over the world.
Image courtesy of Daytona Beach Symphony Society