MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra

The MDR-Sinfonieorchester (in English, MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra) is a German radio orchestra based in Leipzig. It is the radio orchestra of Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, the public broadcaster for the German states of Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. It is one of the oldest Radio orchestras in the world and the oldest in Germany. It was founded in Leipzig, Germany in 1923 (9 months earlier than the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra). Apart from a short interruption during World War II, it has been the main orchestra of the Central German Broadcasting Company (MDR) since 1924. The orchestra performs concerts in Leipzig at the Gewandhaus.

MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra
Native nameMDR Sinfonieorchester
LocationLeipzig, Germany
Concert hallGewandhaus
Principal conductorDennis Russell Davies


The orchestra was founded as "Orchester des Konzertvereins" ("Orchestra of the Concert Society"). It became the "Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Leipzig" ("Radio Symphony Orchestra Leipzig") in 1924 and later adopted its present name. The Orchestra was dissolved during World War II and reunited in 1946 under the tenure of the conductor Hermann Abendroth, later conducted by Herbert Kegel. During the late 1970s through the 1980s, the principal conductors were Wolf-Dieter Hauschild and Max Pommer.

In 1992, the Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra merged with the Radio Philharmonic in Leipzig to form the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra. Daniel Nazareth was the first Music Director of the newly formed MDR Symphony Orchestra after the German reunification. The orchestra's most recent chief conductor was Kristjan Järvi, from 2012 to 2018.[1] In November 2019, the orchestra announced the appointment of Dennis Russell Davies as its next chief conductor, effective with the 2020-2021 season, with an initial contract of 4 years.[2]


Chamber music ensembles of the MDR Symphony Orchestra

  • Arcato Streichquartett (since 1999)
  • Döring-Bläserquintett (since 1982)
  • Kammersymphonie Leipzig (since 2006)
  • Leipziger Hornquartett (since 1996)
  • Leipziger Schlagzeugensemble (since 1983)
  • Leipziger Blechbläsersolisten (since 1992)
  • MDR Bläserquintett (since 1995)

Other ensembles

Principal conductors

World premieres

This is a selected list of world premieres given by the orchestra:[3]

See also


  1. "WSO Letzte Spielzeit für Kristjan Järvi" (Press release). MDR. 22 March 2017. Archived from the original on 3 April 2017. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  2. "Dennis Russell Davies wird Chefdirigent des MDR-Sinfonieorchesters" (Press release). MDR. 13 November 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  3. Clemen/Lieberwirth 1999, pp. 185ff.


  • Jörg Clemen; Steffen Lieberwirth: Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk. Die Geschichte des Sinfonieorchesters. Verlag Klaus-Jürgen Kamprad, Altenburg 1999, ISBN 3-930550-09-1
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