Symphony Orchestra

• Founded 1888

Editor's Choice

Founded in 1888, the orchestra of Amsterdam's Royal concert hall building is regarded as one of the world's finest. Under Willem Mengelberg's epic fifty-year tenure, it built a formidable reputation and was instrumental in launching the careers of young composers, notably Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler. The orchestra's unusual system of chief, first and second conductors saw a stream of internationally renowned musicians taking to the rostrum in Amsterdam over the years. Bruno Walter, Pierre Monteux, George Szell and Ricardo Chailly have enjoyed close associations with the orchestra, and nurturing home-grown talent has formed a significant part of the orchestra's story since Mengelberg's 1945 departure. Dutch conductors including Hans Vonk, Edo de Waart and most famously, Bernard Haitink, built their careers at the Concertgebouw and contributed to a rich and continued legacy of excellence in the Netherlands and beyond. This 2006 release on the orchestra's own label dates from the tenure of its late chief conductor Mariss Jansons. A live recording from the main hall of their namesake building, this interpretation of Shostakovich's description of 1941's Siege of Leningrad packs an emotional punch, performed with the exemplary precision we've come to expect from this excellent orchestra.


Based in Amsterdam, the Concertgebouworkest was founded in 1888 and officially received the appellation ‘Royal’ on the occasion of its 100th anniversary.

The Concertgebouworkest is one of the very best orchestras in the world due to its unique sound and stylistic flexibility. The exceptional acoustics of The Concertgebouw play an important role in this respect. Equally important is the quality of the musicians themselves and the influence exerted on the orchestra by its chief conductors, of which there have been only seven since the orchestra was founded in 1888: Willem Kes (1888-1895), Willem Mengelberg (1895–1945), Eduard van Beinum (1945–1959), Bernard Haitink (1961–1988), Riccardo Chailly (1988–2004), Mariss Jansons (2004–2015) and, from September 2016 to August 2018, Daniele Gatti. Leading composers such as Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss conducted the Concertgebouworkest on more than one occasion. The orchestra still regularly collaborates with contemporary composers, and contributes to the creation of new repertoire by regularly commissioning new compositions

In addition to some ninety concerts performed at The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Concertgebouworkest gives forty concerts at leading concert halls throughout the world each year. The orchestra has made over 1,100 LP, CD and DVD recordings to date, many of which have won international distinctions. The orchestra has its own in-house label since 2004 and helps develop talent through the Academy of the Concertgebouworkest, collaborative efforts with other institutions and organising masterclasses. In 2019 Young was launched: a youth orchestra for ‘hidden talent’ from all over Europe. It is an offshoot of the ambitious tour through all member states of the EU between 2016 and 2018, during which in each country one work was performed together with a local youth orchestra (Side by Side).

The Concertgebouworkest is co-funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Municipality of Amsterdam, sponsors, funds and numerous donors all over the world. The largest portion of its income is generated by proceeds from the concerts it gives in and outside the Netherlands.