Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Symphony Orchestra

• Founded 1925


The Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, in Danish DR SymfoniOrkestret, is the oldest broadcasting orchestra in the world, and one of Denmark's premier musical ensembles. From the beginning, the orchestra has attracted prestigious conductors and guest soloists from outside Denmark.

The Statsradiofonien national radio network formed the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1925, entrusting musical responsibilities to singer Emil Holm, musicians Otto Fessel, Rudolf Dietz Mann, and Folmer Jensen, and conductor Launy Grøndahl. Within a year, the orchestra had grown to 30 members, and by 1948, although hampered in its operations during World War II, it boasted a full complement of 92 musicians. The orchestra added public concerts to its radio appearances in 1927 and by 1928, was giving weekly concerts. Among its key early conductors, was the exiled German Fritz Busch. After World War II, the orchestra attained international stature, and famed guest conductors came to Copenhagen to lead it: these included Bruno Walter, Leopold Stokowski, and Eugene Ormandy, among many others. The post of principal conductor of the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra has proven a beneficial career step for many of the top conductors on the contemporary scene, mostly not Danish. These have included Herbert Blomstedt (principal conductor 1967¬1977), Leif Segerstam (1988-1995), and Thomas Dausgaard (2004-2011); its current conductor is Fabio Luisi.

The orchestra has been nominated for three Grammy awards for Best Classical Album: for the opera Holger Danske by Friedrich Ludwig Aemilius Kunzen (1997), Per Nørgård's Fifth Symphony (1998), and Carl Nielsen's opera, Maskarade (2000). The orchestra has made numerous recordings, mostly for the Chandos and Dacapo labels. The orchestra's recording of Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90 ("Italian") appeared on Deutsche Grammophon in 2017. In 2018, a historical recording of the orchestra backing violinist Camilla Wicks appeared on an anthology issued by the Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler label.