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 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 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 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.
Giuseppe Patanè was an Italian opera 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.After negotiations, the orchestra was preserved, with a reduction in size from 72 to 50 musicians.
From 2006 to 2017, the orchestra's chief conductor was Ulf Schirmer.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, Acanta and Sony Classical. In May 2016, the orchestra announced the appointment of Ivan Repušić as its next chief conductor, effective with the 2017-2018 season.
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.
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.
Carlos Kleiber was a German-born Austrian conductor who is widely regarded as being among the greatest conductors of all time.
Claudio Abbado, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI was an Italian conductor. One of the most celebrated and respected conductors of the 20th century, particularly in the music of Gustav Mahler, he served as music director of the La Scala opera house in Milan, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Vienna State Opera, founder and director of Lucerne Festival Orchestra, music director of European Union Youth Orchestra and principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra.
Lorin Varencove Maazel was an American conductor, violinist and composer. Making his debut at the conducting podium at the age of eight, he embarked on his career in earnest in 1953, establishing a reputation in European concert halls by 1960 but, by comparison, his career in the U.S. progressed far more slowly. However, he would later be appointed music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic, among other posts. Maazel was well-regarded in baton technique and possessed a photographic memory for scores. Described as mercurial and forbidding in rehearsal, he mellowed in old age.
Helen Jeanette Donath is an American soprano with a career spanning fifty years.
Thomas Bernard (Ben) Heppner, CC is a Canadian tenor and broadcaster, now retired from singing, who specialized in opera and other classical works for voice.
Júlia Várady is a German soprano of Hungarian origin born in Nagyvárad, Hungary, who started out as a mezzo-soprano.
The NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester is a German radio orchestra based in Hamburg. Affiliated with the Norddeutscher Rundfunk, the orchestra is based at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany. Earlier the ensemble was called the NDR Symphony Orchestra, and was also known in English as the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra.
The Bavarian State Orchestra is the orchestra of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Germany. It has given its own series of concerts, the Akademiekonzerte, since 1811.
Susan Graham is an American mezzo-soprano.
Alan Gilbert is an American conductor and violinist. He was most recently music director of the New York Philharmonic, and is the scheduled chief conductor-designate of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra.
José Francisco Araiza Andrade, is a Mexican operatic tenor and lied singer who has sung as soloist in leading concert halls and in leading tenor operatic roles in the major opera houses of Europe and North America during the course of a lengthy career. Born in Mexico City, he studied singing at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música de México and later in Germany, with Mozartian tenor Richard Holm, and lieder interpretation with Erik Werba. He made his operatic debut in 1970 in Mexico City as First Prisoner in Beethoven's Fidelio. Araiza initially came to international prominence singing in Mozart and Rossini operas, but in the 1980s broadened his repertoire to include Italian and French lyric tenor roles and Wagnerian roles such as Lohengrin and Walther von Stolzing. He was made a Kammersänger of the Vienna State Opera in 1988. Now retired from the opera stage, he teaches singing and serves on the juries of several international singing competitions.
Bernd Weikl is an Austrian operatic baritone, best known for his performances in the stage works by Richard Wagner at international opera houses and festivals. He also has written books and directed operas.
Eva Lind is an Austrian operatic soprano.
Franz Tscherne is an Austrian actor and film director.
The Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern is a German radio orchestra. Its administrative headquarters is in Saarbrücken, at the Funkhaus Halberg. The orchestra gives concerts at the Funkhaus Halberg and the Congresshalle in Saarbrucken, and at the Fruchthalle in Kaiserslautern.