• Founded 1864
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The industrial city of Düsseldorf, Germany, is home to an orchestra with one of the longest histories of any European group: the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchetra (in German: Düsseldorfer Sinfoniker) can trace its origins back as far as court ensembles of the late 16th century. This Düsseldorfer Hofkapelle was a major opera orchestra in the early 18th century, working with top composers such as Handel, Corelli, and Agostino Steffani. The establishment of a Städische Musikverein or Municipal Music Association in 1818 was another step toward the formation of the modern orchestra, and again top composers were involved: both Mendelssohn and Schumann served as the orchestra's music director. The Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra as such dates to 1864 and is, after the Aachen Symphony, Germany's second oldest symphony orchestra. The group flourished between the world wars, attracting as music directors such figures as Karl Panzner, Hans Weisbach, George Szell, and Jascha Horenstein. During World War II, the orchestra played a role in Nazi musical culture, but it was reconstituted after the war by music directors Heinrich Hollreiser and Eugen Szenkar. Modern conductors have included Jean Martinon, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Henryk Czyz, Willem van Otterloo, Bernhard Klee, David Shallon, Salvador Mas i Conde, Andrey Boreyko, and Adam Fischer, with Alexandre Bloch serving as principal guest conductor in the 2010s. The orchestra's home is the Düsseldorf Tonhalle, and it also serves as the orchestra for the city's Deutsche Oper am Rhein. The group has mounted tours across Europe and Asia, and a wind quintet drawn from the symphony's ranks has also achieved wide popularity. The orchestra is an integral part of the musical life of Düsseldorf, mounting a series of family concerts in addition to its regular performances. In 2014, the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra addressed its Nazi past with a series of concerts that examined the music of totalitarianism.