Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra gave its first concert on 7 October 1945, led by its founder and ‘first conductor‘ Albert van Raalte, on Radio “Herrijzend Nederland”. Initially the orchestra spent most of its time in studios working on a large number of recordings for the public broadcasting system. The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic featured prominently in the Saturday Matinee as soon as the series started in 1961, and has continued to give frequent live performances ever since. The celebrated Saturday Matinee has hosted many legendary concerts. Illustrious soloists such as Kathleen Ferrier, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Clara Haskil and Jean-Pierre Rampal have shared the stage with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2004, the three classical orchestral formations of the broadcasting 15 system were transformed into two: the present Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic. In 2006, these two orchestras, the Netherlands Radio Choir and the Metropole Orchestra joined the Dutch public broadcasting organisation NPO.
The Radio Philharmonic Orchestra has been conducted by great names such as Bernard Haitink, Jean Fournet, Hans Vonk, Sergiu Comissiona and Edo de Waart. Jaap van Zweden was named its chief conductor in September 2005. The orchestra has also worked with numerous famed guest conductors such as Leopold Stokowski, Kirill Kondrashin, Antál Dorati, Riccardo Muti, Kurt Masur and Valery Gergiev. Soon after its founding, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic found itself foremost in Dutch musical life in the number of performances and the diversity of its repertoire, with a predilection for Dutch and contemporary works in its programming. It has honed another facet of its striking profile with a great many opera concertante performances. The orchestra has an extensive discography, ranging from legendary LPs recorded in the 1970s under such conductors as Leopold Stokowski and Antal Doráti to Jean Fournet’s much-lauded renderings of French repertoire. Under Edo de Waart, not only did it release its legendary Wagner interpretations, but also the complete orchestral works of Rachmaninov. CDs with work by contemporary composers such as Jonathan Harvey, Klas Torstensson, Jan van Vlijmen and Stravinsky have garnered prizes and much acclaim.