The history of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin goes back to the first musical hour of the German radio in October 1923.
The former principal conductors and musicias Otto Urack, Bruno Seidler-Winkler, Eugen Jochum, Sergiu Celibidache, Hermann Abendroth, Rolf Kleinert, Heinz Rögner und Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos in turn shaped an ensemble that has endured the vicissitudes of German history in the 20th century in a unique way.
In the 21st century, Marek Janowski (2001 to 2016) was succeeded in 2017 by Vladimir Jurowski, who as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director is leading the orchestra’s soon to be 100-year tradition into the future, not least by extending his contract until 2027. At his side, Karina Canellakis has been the RSB’s Principal Guest Conductor since 2019.
The RSB has become a top address for outstanding young conductors on the international music scene: Andris Nelsons, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Vasily Petrenko, Jakub Hrůša, Alain Altinoglu, Omer Meir Wellber, Michael Francis, Lahav Shani, Karina Canellakis, Thomas Søndergård, Antonello Manacorda, Edward Gardner, Nicholas Carter.
Since 1923, important contemporary composers have appeared on the podium of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, or have performed their own works as soloists: Paul Hindemith, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud, Sergei Prokofjew, Richard Strauss, Arnold Schönberg, Igor Strawinsky, Wladimir Vogel, Kurt Weill und Alexander Zemlinsky sowie in jüngerer Zeit Krzysztof Penderecki, Berthold Goldschmidt, Peter Maxwell Davies, Friedrich Goldmann, Peter Ruzicka, Jörg Widmann, Daniel Schnyder, Matthias Pintscher, Siegfried Matthus, Heinz Holliger, Thomas Adès, Brett Dean und Marko Nikodijević. In season 2021/2022 Jelena Firssowa was Composer-in-Residence.
All of the RSB’s symphony concerts are broadcast on radio thanks to its close ties to Deutschlandfunk and Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb). The cooperation with Deutschlandradio continues to yield fruitful results on disc. Four recordings under the baton of Vladimir Jurowski have opened a new chapter in production since 2015. For over 50 years, the RSB has been giving regular guest performances in Japan and Korea as well as at German and European festivals and in musical centres worldwide.