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As one of the most innovative and flexible ensembles of its kind in Germany, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its 80th anniversary in the 2009/10 season. Thanks to its extraordinarily broad repertoire and its wide range of concert and Cd activities, the Orchestra of the German Public Radio of Hessen is now enjoying an outstanding international reputation. Experiments and discoveries both in the area of old and new music and the collaboration with top-class conductors and soloists is just as much part of its artistic profile as is the boundary crossing Music Discovery Project, the participation in the International Conductor’s Competition Sir Georg Solti as well as numerous children and youth projects.


Hans Rosbaud, the Orchestra’s first conductor between 1929 and 1937, shaped the Orchestra by focusing on traditional as well as contemporary music. Following the end of World War II, Kurt Schröder and Winfried Zillig set about rebuilding the Orchestra, establishing a broad musical repertoire. But it was Dean Dixon and especially Eliahu Inbal who over the following decades (1961 to 1990) turned the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra into an orchestra of international distinction with guest appearances all over the world and important, multiple award-winning recording editions such as the first recording of the original versions of the Bruckner Symphonies (Grand Prix du Disque) and the first-ever digital recording of Mahler’s complete Symphonies (Deutscher Schallplattenpreis 1988). Inbal was Chief Conductor between 1974 and 1990 and has been the Orchestra’s Honorary Conductor since 1996. Dmitri Kitaenko who was Chief Conductor from 1990 to 1996 and put his particular emphasis on German and Russian traditional and modern music, was followed by the American Hugh Wolff who joined the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1977 and was its Chief Conductor for nine years.


Flexibility and variety also were key words for his work with the Orchestra. Wolff applied knowledge gathered from historical performance practices to the modern symphony orchestra, thereby regaining the vast pool of repertoire from the classical, early classical and baroque periods. Exciting interpretations and an unusually versatile programming also were some of his trademarks. The joint success was not only reflected in the countless number of invitations to perform throughout Europe and Asia, but also in acclaimed Cd recordings of works by Antheil, Haydn and Beethoven, as well as in two Grammy nominations. Estonian-born Paavo Järvi was appointed Chief Conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2006. Järvi is one of the most prominent international conductors of his generation and musical variety will again be one of the watchwords of his tenureship. His passion for the Nordic repertoire, as well as Romantic and late Romantic works promises to enrich and open up new interesting facets for the Orchestra, as does his interest in contemporary music and his experience of working with young people. First successful Cd-productions with Paavo Järvi included works by Brahms, Bruckner, Dvořák and Herbert. Under the direction of the double Grammy award-winning conductor, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra also gave a guest performance in Peking as official Olympic Ambassador for Germany as part of its extended tour through China and Japan in 2008. Moreover, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and Paavo Järvi are enjoying a growing presence in the musical centres of Germany and Europe: In 2009 alone, the Orchestra will not only be involved in extensive concert activities in the German State of Hessen, but will also appear in nine different countries from Estonia to Italy and from France to Hungary.