Residentie Orchestra The Hague was founded in 1904 by Dr Henri Viotta, who was also the first conductor. The orchestra experienced its first great successes during the Richard Strauss Festival in 1911. The composer himself was present in order to conduct some of his operas. In 1915, the Residentie Orchestra took over the renowned Kurzaal Concerts in Scheveningen from the Lamoureux Orchestra. These summertime concerts quickly became an event in their own right and a favourite port of call for famous conductors and soloists on tour. After World War II, it was Willem van Otterloo who took up the baton again and continued where the orchestra had left off; he was chief conductor of the Residentie Orchestra from 1949 to 1973. Under his inspirational leadership, the orchestra's reputation grew and it became a widely renowned advocate of the French repertoire of the 19th and 20th centuries, the German Romantics (Johannes Brahms, Bruckner, Gustav Mahler and Strauss) and Dutch composers. There was also a substantial proportion of contemporary music under Van Otterloo’s leadership.
Composer/conductors such as Pierre Boulez and Bruno Maderna were amongst the established guest artists. During this period, the Residentie Orchestra undertook major tours, where the venues included New York, Boston, Chicago, Vienna, Munich and Berlin.In the 1980's, Hans Vonk continued this policy with tours to the important American concert halls as well as to Vienna, London and Berlin. After the Arts and Sciences Building burned down in 1984, a need arose for the Orchestra to have its own concert hall; Hans Vonk and the Orchestra set up a campaign with this in mind. Money was brought in for the new hall from various sources including the sale of gramophone records (the so-called "Let's Build" LPs). In September 1987, the results of these special efforts were put on display: the Dr Anton Phillipszaal was formally opened in the presence of Queen Beatrix.
The orchestra currently has two renowned conductors; Jan Willem de Vriend and Nicholas Collon. They work alongside the permanent guest conductor Richard Egarr.