A radio orchestra (or broadcast orchestra) is an orchestra employed by a radio network (and sometimes television networks) 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.
Famous broadcast orchestras include the NBC Symphony Orchestra (1937–1954) conducted by Arturo Toscanini, the five orchestras maintained by the BBC, particularly the BBC Symphony Orchestra founded in 1930, the MDR Symphony Orchestra founded in 1923, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra founded in 1949, the Tokyo-based NHK Symphony Orchestra, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra founded in 1925, the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra founded in 1969 and the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio (formerly the USSR State Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra among other names) founded in 1930.
Germany has an especially large number of radio orchestras. Twelve radio orchestras perform and produce classical as well as contemporary music and jazz for Germany's public broadcasters. North German Broadcasting (NDR) has two orchestras in Hamburg and Hanover as well as the NDR Big Band also in Hamburg. West German Broadcasting (WDR) has two orchestras in Cologne and a Big Band, Southwest German Broadcasting (SWR) with two orchestras and the SWR Big Band in Stuttgart and Baden-Baden/Freiburg, Bavarian Broadcasting (Bayerischer Rundfunk) with two orchestras in Munich, Central German Broadcasting (MDR) with one orchestra in Leipzig, Saarland Broadcasting (SR) with one (2006 merged) orchestra in Saarbrücken/Kaiserslautern, Hessian Broadcasting (HR) with one orchestra in Frankfurt and the (Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra), Berlin.
The British Broadcasting Corporation operates five full-time permanent orchestras, as well as a full-time chamber choir, the BBC Singers and the BBC Big Band.
Denmark also maintains orchestra in the form of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the Danish Radio Big Band, Chamber Orchestra and Radio Choir.
In Norway NRK runs the Norwegian Radio Orchestra (Norwegian, Kringkastingsorkestret, abbreviated as KORK). The orchestra specializes in classical music as well as popular music. This makes it quite unique in that the musicians are trained both classically and rhythmically too a high degree. The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Stavanger Symphony Orchestra also have agreements with NRK too make a number of broadcast recordings a year.
In the Netherlands, the Muziekcentrum van de Omroep (Broadcasting Music Centre), an umbrella organization of the Netherlands Public Broadcasting associations, supports the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, the Radio Kamer Filharmonie, the Groot Omroepkoor (Netherlands Radio Choir), and the Metropole Orkest, the world's largest professional pop and jazz orchestra.
The last surviving broadcast orchestra in North America was the CBC Radio Orchestra founded in 1938. On March 28, 2008 the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation announced that the orchestra would be dissolved at the end of November.The ensemble has continued independent of network affiliation as the National Broadcast Orchestra based in Vancouver.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in Australia operates six state radio symphony orchestras through its subdivision Symphony Australia.
The house band for the Late Show with David Letterman whimsically called itself the CBS Orchestra though it was not a classical musical orchestra and did not perform on CBS outside of the Late Show. The last permanent studio orchestra in America was The Tonight Show Band, also known as the NBC Orchestra, a big band led by trumpeter Doc Severinsen.
The Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra was a German radio orchestra based in Stuttgart in Germany.
ARD is a joint organisation of Germany's regional public-service broadcasters. It was founded in 1950 in West Germany to represent the common interests of the new, decentralised, post-war broadcasting services – in particular the introduction of a joint television network.
Südwestrundfunk is a regional public broadcasting corporation serving the southwest of Germany, specifically the federal states of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. The corporation has main offices in three cities: Stuttgart, Baden-Baden and Mainz, with the director's office being in Stuttgart. It is a part of the ARD consortium. It broadcasts on two television channels and six radio channels, with its main television and radio office in Baden-Baden and regional offices in Stuttgart and Mainz. It is the second largest broadcasting organization in Germany. SWR, with a coverage of 55,600 km2, and an audience reach estimated to be 14.7 million. SWR employs 3,700 people in its various offices and facilities.
Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk is the public broadcaster for the federal states of Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt in Germany. Established in January 1991, its headquarters are in Leipzig, with regional studios in Dresden, Erfurt and Magdeburg. MDR is a member of the ARD consortium of public broadcasters in Germany.
Norddeutscher Rundfunk is a public radio and television broadcaster, based in Hamburg. In addition to the city-state of Hamburg, NDR broadcasts for the German states of Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein. NDR is a member of the ARD organisation.
The Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra was a German radio orchestra located in the German cities of Baden-Baden and Freiburg.
Gurre-Lieder is a large cantata for five vocal soloists, narrator, chorus and large orchestra, composed by Arnold Schoenberg, on poems by the Danish novelist Jens Peter Jacobsen. The title means "songs of Gurre", referring to Gurre Castle in Denmark, scene of the medieval love-tragedy revolving around the Danish national legend of the love of the Danish king Valdemar Atterdag for his mistress Tove, and her subsequent murder by Valdemar's jealous Queen Helvig.
In Bavaria and in Württemberg-Baden, Radio München (Munich) and Radio Stuttgart went on air in 1945. In the next years, Radio München was transformed to a Bavarian broadcaster, and in Germany's South West, two public broadcasting corporations started and produced radio and (subsequent) television programs up to their merger in 1998:
Martin France is an English drummer. He has recorded on over 100 albums and has taught at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
The Eurovision Young Musicians 1986 was the third edition of the Eurovision Young Musicians, held at the Koncerthuset, in Copenhagen, Denmark on 27 May 1986. Organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and host broadcaster Danmarks Radio (DR), musicians from five countries participated in the televised final. Despite the contest being held in Copenhagen, host country Denmark failed to qualify for the final alongside Germany, Austria, Israel, Belgium, Norway, Ireland, Sweden, Netherlands and Italy. The participant artists could not be older than 19 by the time of the contest. The finalists were all accompanied by the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra under the leadership of Hans Graf.
The Eurovision Young Musicians 2000 was the tenth edition of the Eurovision Young Musicians, held at Grieg Hall in Bergen, Norway on 15 June 2000. Organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and host broadcaster Norsk rikskringkasting (NRK), musicians from eight countries participated in the televised final. A total of eighteen countries took part in the competition. All participants performed a classical piece of their choice accompanied by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Simone Young. Seven countries returned to the contest, while Croatia, Cyprus and Sweden withdrew from the 2000 contest.
Genova & Dimitrov is a Bulgarian piano duo, considered by the world music press and the audience one of the finest and most successful young ensembles. The duo consists of Aglika Genova and Liuben Dimitrov. They appear at two pianos and at one piano four-handed with recital programmes, as well as with orchestras.
The Metropole Orkest is a jazz and pop orchestra based in the Netherlands, and is the largest full-time ensemble of its kind in the world. A hybrid orchestra, it is a combination of jazz, big band and symphony orchestra. Comprising 52–97 musicians, it is versatile across many musical forms, and is equipped with a "double rhythm section" – one for pop and rock, and one for jazz based music.
Farmers Market is a Norwegian band founded in Trondheim, Sør-Trøndelag, in 1991. They have released four studio albums.
Ola Onabulé is a British-Nigerian singer-songwriter.
Morten Schuldt-Jensen is a Danish classical conductor.
Geir Øystein Lysne is a Norwegian jazz musician and a famous Big Band leader.