More than one hundred first-class musicians have Berwaldhallen in Stockholm as their home base. Together they form the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, which also serves as the symphony orchestra for the whole of Sweden since all of its concerts are broadcast via the Swedish Radio P2. Most of the orchestra’s concerts are also broadcast to large regions of the world through the European Broadcasting Union, which brings them to an audience of some 80 million listeners.
The high calibre of the ensemble has been developed over the years by a series of prominent music directors. Founded in 1936, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra went thorough major developments during the 1960’s under the direction of the great Rumanian maestro Sergiu Celibidache (music director 1965–1971) into an ensemble of world standard, resulting in a number of highly successful international tours. Celibidache was succeeded by Herbert Blomstedt, who led the orchestra to continued success between 1977 and 1982. In 1984 the 25-year-old Esa-Pekka Salonen arrived, bringing fresh thinking and new repertoire. Ten years later the Russian Yevgeny Svetlanov took over the reins. While his first love was the Romantics, he also had a strong predilection for Swedish music. Between 2000 and 2006 the Austrian Manfred Honeck drilled the orchestra in the Viennese tradition.
Today the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra is considered one of the foremost European orchestras. During the current artistic leadership of Daniel Harding, one of the worlds leading in his generation of conductors the orchestra is achieving further success in Sweden and elsewhere. “My life as a conductor means making a lot of decisions. One of the best decisions I’ve made was to come here to work with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.” , Daniel Harding remarked in 2009. The orchestra continuously collaborates with the world’s leading soloists and conductors. Besides the prestigious series of artistic directors, international star conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Valery Gergiev and Myung-Whun Chung, just to mention a few, have conducted and praised the orchestra.
An interest in contemporary music is clearly reflected in the repertoire. Swedish composers are regularly commissioned, and the maintenance and promotion of the Swedish orchestra repertoire is an important goal of the programme planning. Besides cooperating with international world class soloists in the classical music genre the orchestra also cooperates with Swedish pop stars and makes concerts for children in an aim to broaden its audience base. The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra has also done a number of recordings, renowned for their high quality, and not only won a Grammy but has also been nominated for several Grammies. With its international reputation the orchestra regularly makes major tours in Europe, Asia and elsewhere thus being the guest of many important concert halls and festivals. Recent tours have led the orchestra to Italy in 2011 and to Germany, France, China and Japan in 2010. The orchestra is a continuous nave in the well-established Baltic Sea Festival.
For more information please see www.berwaldhallen.se