For more than 65 years the Deutsches Symphonie- Orchester Berlin (DSO Berlin) has distinguished itself as one of Germany’s leading orchestras. The number of renowned Music Directors, the scope and variety of its work, and its particular emphasis on modern and contemporary music, makes the ensemble unique. It was founded in 1946 as the RIAS-Symphonie-Orchester by the broadcasting station in the American sector of Berlin. In 1956 the orchestra was renamed the Radio Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (RSO Berlin), and in 1993, to avoid confusion in Berlin’s newly reunited cultural landscape, the orchestra decided to relinquish its familiar name in favour of its present one.
Ferenc Fricsay became the orchestra’s first Music Director. He set the standard and defined the repertoire. The orchestra’s sound was characterized by transparency, structural clarity and plasticity. It quickly became well known for its commitment to 20th century music, and its ability to attract first-rate conductors. In 1964, Lorin Maazel took on the artistic responsibility for the orchestra. He was succeeded by Riccardo Chailly (1982-89), Vladimir Ashkenazy (1989-99), Kent Nagano (2000-06) and Ingo Metzmacher (2007-10). Since the start of the 2012-13 season the 34-year-old Ossetian conductor Tugan Sokhiev is DSO Berlin’s new Music Director. He has already held the title of Music Director Designate since the beginning of the 2010-11 season.
The Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and its history have become emblematic of the democratic and cultural renewal of Germany following the defeat of National Socialism and the end of World War II. That is how the orchestra has been perceived at its concerts in Berlin and on tours throughout Germany and the rest of Europe, North and South America, and in the Near, Middle and Far East. Its groundbreaking radio and recording productions have further solidified this image. In 2011 the orchestra was awarded a Grammy Award for the Best Opera Recording.
bio & photo: from booklet 38116 (Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin with cellist Nicolas Altstaedt, Channel Classics)