Formed in 1919 from the remnants of the Musikforening Orchestra (co-founded by Edvard Grieg and Johan Svendsen), the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra has advanced into world renown, especially during the long tenure of conductor Mariss Jansons in the 1980s and 1990s. Recordings on the EMI label were important to the orchestra's heightened reputation. Founded through private initiatives and funded by private shareholders, the orchestra drew world-classRead more conductors to Norway during the years of its infancy. Nikisch, Monteux, Weingartner, and Fried were joined by Ravel as guest leaders of the orchestra, as were composer/conductors Hindemith, Nielsen, and Szymanowski. Famous soloists, too, lent their support: Huberman, Kempf, d'Albert, Fischer, and Schnabel. Standards remained high during the 1930s, as musicians such as Stravinsky, Bruno Walter, Fritz Busch, Thomas Beecham, Adrian Boult, and Erich Kleiber led the orchestra. Only a week before the Nazis sailed into Oslo, Wilhelm Furtwängler had been a guest conductor. During WWII, programs were suspended. In 1945, plans were made to build a new performance hall and to increase the number of players to 80. As Norway had been musically isolated during the war, new works of the time had to be absorbed into the O.P.O.'s repertory. In 1953, Oslo was host to the ISCM Festival, which brought more new works to the attention of the Norwegian public and, specifically, to the O.P.O.'s audiences. Through the joint directorship of Herbert Blomstedt and Øivin Fjeldstad in the 1960s, the orchestra began to become known outside Norway: its first tour in 1962 took the ensemble to Amsterdam, Berlin, Frankfort, and Bonn. In 1977, a new venue, the Oslo Concert Hall, opened and during the next several years, ticket sales for the orchestra doubled. The year after the new hall opened, the orchestra toured the United States under the direction of Okko Kamu, winner of the Herbert von Karajan 1969 conducting competition. In 1979, a plan was initiated to add 15 more musicians by 1990. Under Latvian conductor Mariss Jansons, appointed music director in 1979, the O.P.O. expanded in size; toured Germany, Switzerland, and Austria to acclaim in 1985; and gained an important recording contract with EMI. After Jansons resignation in February 2000, a search resulted in the appointment of André Previn as music director beginning in the 2002 -- 2003 season. Read less
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