Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra



Active: 1946
Country: Germany

There may be more confusion over the identity of this orchestra than any other major ensemble in the West, not least because it has had three names over the years. Founded in 1946 in the American sector of Berlin, the orchestra was formed while Berlin (and most of Germany) was emerging from the destruction of the war. The ensemble was given the name of RIAS Symphony Orchestra, the initials standing for "Radio in the American Sector." Later the ensemble adopted the name of Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, by which many concertgoers and record collectors still know them.

In 1993, the orchestra was renamed Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. In part the change was necessary to avoid confusion with another Berlin ensemble, the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin, often listed on recordings and in catalogs in German as Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. And here is where the confusion worsens: this latter group is often now mistakenly listed at Internet sites, in reference works and in catalogs as the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. Actually, such a translation of their German name would normally be quite acceptable.

In any event, the new Deutsches Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin is led by music director Vladimir Ashkenazy and has as its principal guest conductor Gunter Wand. The former became music director in 1989 when he succeeded Ricardo Chailly. The orchestra plays subscription series at both the Philharmonie in Berlin and at the Konzerthaus, located in the former East Berlin. Eliahu Inbal, Gerd Albrecht, Lothar Zagrosek and other distinguished conductors have frequently led the orchestra. Zagrosek has made several important recordings with the Deutsches Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin for Decca Records. The group has also recorded for Denon, Orfeo, Capriccio, and CPO. They are probably the most significant orchestra in Berlin after the Berlin Philharmonic.

There are 357 Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra recordings available.

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