MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra (biography in English)

Das MDR-Sinfonieorchester im Konzert.
Bildrechte: MDR/Andreas Lander

Germany’s oldest radio orchestra presents itself just a few years before its centennial in 2024 as one of the liveliest and most innovative in Europe. In addition to its regular presence in all media, the orchestra delights a wide public with its more than 50 concerts a year in the area served by MDR and on tour in Germany and abroad. Dennis Russell Davies is its Principal Conductor.

The MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra is rooted in the region of Saxony, Saxsony-Anhalt, and Thuringia, a region whose musical culture has been shaped by composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Richard Wagner, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, and Kurt Weill. The MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra takes the innovative spirit of these composers into the present: the latest developments in music, cross-genre experiments, as well as spirited performances of the traditional repertoire. Kristjan Järvi – Principal Conductor from 2013 until Summer 2018 and successor to Hermann Abendroth, Herbert Kegel, Wolf-Dieter Hauschild, Fabio Luisi, and Jun Märkl – has expanded the orchestra’s profil through new programmatic impulses and concepts and with guests who are not only at home in the classical music world, such as Aziz Sahmaoui, Django Bates, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Francesco Tristano, DJ Mr. Switch, Stefano Bollani, Bryce Dessner, Hauschka, múm, Max Richter and Anoushka Shankar. Concerts featuring artists such as Julia Fischer, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Alexander Toradze, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Pekka Kuusisto, Gabriela Montero, Nils Mönkemeyer, Antoine Tamestit and Nicolas Altstaedt reflect the diversity of the orchestra’s repertoire as well as collaborations with composers like Tan Dun, Steve Reich and Arvo Pärt.

Renowned conductors have time and again been at the desk of the orchestra; in recent years it was Neeme Järvi, Dennis Russell Davies, Roger Norrington, Ádám Fischer, Krzysztof Urbański, Stefan Asbury, James Gaffigan, Markus Stenz, Alain Altinoglu, Roberto Abbado, Santtu-Matias Rouvali, Kazuki Yamada, Michael Jurowski, Jan Willem de Vriend, Ludovic Morlot, Dmitry Liss ,  but also conductors of the younger generation such as Ariane Matiakh, Duncan Ward, Nicholas Carter and the twenty-two-year-old Klaus Mäkelä.

Furthermore the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra has made studio recordings of numerous soundtracks, including: the music of the series "Sense8" by Andy and Lana Wachowski as well as Tom Tykwer's films "Cloud Atlas", "Hologram for a King" and his series "Babylon Berlin". CD recordings are being released by MDR KLASSIK, Neos, Naxos, SONY Classical, DG and Naïve.

The MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra is invited for a two-weeks concert tour to Japan in autumn 2019.