Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

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From its beginnings as an amateur group, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra evolved into an orchestra of international stature in the 1970s and ’80s under conductors Edo de Waart and David Zinman. The orchestra has a large recording catalog, with albums made for various labels including, most recently, Warner Classics.
The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (in Dutch: Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest) was founded in 1918 by a group of musicians aiming at personal enjoyment of musical performance rather than renown or financial gain. Originally, musicians had to pay to become members. The first two music directors were Willem Felzer and Alexander Schmuller, but the one who built the orchestra into a modern ensemble was Edward Flipse, who held the position from 1930 to 1962; he also emphasized new music in the orchestra’s repertory. Despite German bombing of its new concert hall, De Doelen, in 1940, and increasingly severe cultural restrictions, the orchestra survived World War II and continued to perform. A new 2,300-seat De Doelen Hall was built in 1966, and it remains the orchestra’s home.
Franz Paul Decker and then Jean Fournet succeeded Flipse, but another milestone in the orchestra’s development was the hiring of the young Edo de Waart as music director in 1973. De Waart and his successor, David Zinman, initiated a recording program and took the orchestra on international tours. James Conlon held the baton from 1983 to 1991, and he was succeeded by Jeffrey Tate. New renown came to the orchestra after the hiring of Valery Gergiev in 1995; he had already led the orchestra in a 1990 recording of Borodin's Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 for the Philips label. The orchestra under Gergiev continued to record for Philips. Gergiev stepped down in 2008 in favor of the dynamic young conductor Yannick Nézet-Seguin but continued as honorary conductor, as did Nézet-Seguin after his replacement in 2018 by Lahav Shani. In the 2010s and 2020s, the orchestra recorded for various labels, most often Warner Classics. In 2022, under Shani, the orchestra released an album featuring Kurt Weill's Symphony No. 2 and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5, Op. 47, on that label. ~ James Manheim