Munich Radio Orchestra

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The Munich Radio Orchestra (German: Münchner Rundfunkorchester) is a German symphony broadcast orchestra based in Munich. It is one of the two orchestras affiliated with the Bavarian Radio (Bayerischer Rundfunk), the other being the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

A radio orchestra is an orchestra employed by a radio network in order to provide programming as well as sometimes perform incidental or theme music for various shows on the network. In the heyday of radio such orchestras were numerous, performing classical, popular, light music and jazz. However, in recent decades, broadcast orchestras have become increasingly rare. Those that still exist perform mainly classical and contemporary orchestral music, though broadcast light music orchestras, jazz orchestras and big bands are still employed by some radio stations in Europe.

Munich Capital and most populous city of Bavaria, Germany

Munich is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria, the second most populous German federal state. With a population of around 1.5 million, it is the third-largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg, as well as the 12th-largest city in the European Union. The city's metropolitan region is home to 6 million people. Straddling the banks of the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps, it is the seat of the Bavarian administrative region of Upper Bavaria, while being the most densely populated municipality in Germany. Munich is the second-largest city in the Bavarian dialect area, after the Austrian capital of Vienna.

Bayerischer Rundfunk public-service radio and television broadcaster based in Munich

Bayerischer Rundfunk is a public-service radio and television broadcaster, based in Munich, capital city of the Free State of Bavaria in Germany. BR is a member organization of the ARD consortium of public broadcasters in Germany.


A precursor ensemble to the Munich Radio Orchestra was established in the 1920s. The current Munich Radio Orchestra was formalised in 1952, with Werner Schmidt-Boelke as its first chief conductor. The orchestra's focus has historically been on light music, with particular emphasis in its early years as an orchestra for operettas. The orchestra was also historically known for its Sunday concerts.

Light music British musical style of "light" orchestral music

Light music is a less-serious form of Western classical music, which originated in the 18th and 19th centuries and continues today. Its heyday was in the mid‑20th century. The style is through-composed, usually shorter orchestral pieces and suites designed to appeal to a wider context and audience than more sophisticated forms such as the concerto, the symphony and the opera.

From the chief conductorship of Lamberto Gardelli (1982-1985) onwards, the orchestra expanded its repertoire into opera, specifically Italian opera. This work continued under the orchestra's next three chief conductors, all Italians, Giuseppe Patanè (1988–1989), Roberto Abbado (1992–1998), and Marcello Viotti (1998–2005). This activity extended to commercial recordings of operas and opera excerpts with the orchestra's chief conductors. [1] [2] [3]

Giuseppe Patanè was an Italian opera conductor.

Roberto Abbado Italian conductor

Roberto Abbado is an Italian opera and symphonic music conductor. Currently he is Artistic Partner of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. In 2015 he has been appointed Music Director of Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, Spain. From 2018 he's Music Director of the Festival Verdi in Parma. Previously he held the position of Chief Conductor of Münchner Rundfunkorchester.

Marcello Viotti was a Swiss classical music conductor, best known for opera.

The orchestra faced budget constraints and the threat of dissolution by Bavarian Radio in 2004. In protest at these threats to the existence of the orchestra, Viotti resigned as chief conductor that year. [4] After negotiations, the orchestra was preserved, with a reduction in size from 72 to 50 musicians. [5]

From 2006 to 2017, the orchestra's chief conductor was Ulf Schirmer. [6] During his tenure, Schirmer has conducted with the orchestra commercial recordings for the Bavarian Radio's own BR-Klassik label, including Karl Amadeus Hartmann's Des Simplicius Simplicissimus Jugend. The orchestra has also recorded for other labels such as CPO, RCA, [7] Acanta [8] and Sony Classical. [9] In May 2016, the orchestra announced the appointment of Ivan Repušić as its next chief conductor, effective with the 2017-2018 season. [10]

Ulf Schirmer is a German conductor and opera house administrator.

Karl Amadeus Hartmann was a German composer. Sometimes described as the greatest German symphonist of the 20th century, he is now largely overlooked, particularly in English-speaking countries.

Chief conductors

Kurt Peter Eichhorn, was a German conductor.

Heinz Wallberg was a German conductor.

Lamberto Gardelli was a Swedish conductor of Italian birth, particularly associated with the Italian opera repertory, especially the works of Giuseppe Verdi.

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  1. Sarah Bryan Miller (1996-12-01). "Classical Briefs: Rossini - Tancredi". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  2. Anthony Tommasini (1998-11-08). "A New generation Revels in Bel Canto". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  3. Anne Midgette (2004-12-12). "The Best Classical CD's of 2004". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  4. Anne Midgette (2005-02-17). "Marcello Viotti, Conductor, Is Dead at 50". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  5. Anne Midgette (2006-10-29). "Can the iPod Kill These Radio Stars?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  6. "Ulf Schirmer verlässt 2017 den Bayerischen Rundfunk". Abendzeitung München. 2014-05-06. Retrieved 2015-09-26.
  7. Anthony Tommasini (1996-07-25). "Classical CD's;3 Ways To Go Astray". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  8. George Jellinek (1989-04-02). "Home Entertainment/Recordings: Recent Releases". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  9. Tim Ashley (2006-10-20). "Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Garanca/ Brownlee/ Gunn/ De Simone/ Munich Radio Orchestra/ Gomez-Martinez". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  10. "Ivan Repušić neuer Chefdirigent" (Press release). Munich Radio Orchestra. 5 May 2016. Archived from the original on 4 July 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-04.