Radio Filharmonisch Orkest

The Radio Filharmonisch Orkest (Radio Philharmonic Orchestra; Dutch abbreviation RFO) is a Dutch radio orchestra, based in Hilversum. The RFO performs under the aegis of the Muziekcentrum van de Omroep (Broadcasting Music Centre; NMBC), an umbrella organization bringing together the music departments of the various broadcasting associations affiliated to Nederlandse Publieke Omroep (Dutch Public Broadcasting).

The RFO performs on NPO Radio 4 and gives public concerts in Amsterdam and Utrecht. It has also served as the orchestra for productions at De Nederlandse Opera. The RFO's programmes are decided by the above-mentioned Muziekcentrum, rather than directly by the orchestra's management and chief conductor.[1] The current manager of the RFO is Wouter den Hond.


Albert van Raalte founded the orchestra in 1945 and served as its first chief conductor. Past chief conductors have included Paul van Kempen, Bernard Haitink, Jean Fournet, Willem van Otterloo, Hans Vonk, and Sergiu Comissiona. Edo de Waart was chief conductor of the RFO from 1989 to 2004 and is now its conductor laureate. Jaap van Zweden was chief conductor and artistic director of the RFO from 2005 to 2012, and now has the title of honorair gastdirigent (honorary guest conductor, or principal guest conductor). In August 2010, the RFO announced the appointment of Markus Stenz as its eighth chief conductor, effective from the start of the 2012-2013 season, with an initial contract of three years.[2]

In October 2010, the coalition Dutch government announced plans for complete defunding of the Muziekcentrum van de Omroep by the year 2012, with the potential threat of the dissolution of the RFO. After protests, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Sciences Marja van Bijsterveldt announced in December 2010 a partial restoration of funds to the NMBC at a level of €12 million-14 million.[3] In December 2012, the RFO named Bernard Haitink as its patron, following his advocacy for the orchestra in the wake of the proposed defunding.[4]

Stenz concluded his tenure as the RFO's chief conductor in 2019.[5] The current principal guest conductor of the RFO is James Gaffigan, since 2011. His RFO contract as principal guest conductor has most recently been extended through 2022.[6]

In March 2018, Karina Canellakis first guest-conducted the RFO, with concerts in Utrecht and Amsterdam.[7] On the basis of this appearance, in May 2018, the RFO announced the appointment of Canellakis as its next chief conductor, effective with the 2019-2020 season, with an initial contract of 4 years. Canellakis is the first female conductor to be named chief conductor of the RFO. The RFO is the first Dutch orchestra ever to name a female conductor as its chief conductor.[5]

Principal conductors

See also


  1. Christopher Morley (2010-02-12). "Going Dutch with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 2010-09-18.
  2. "Markus Stenz chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra" (Press release). Radio Filharmonisch Orkest. 17 August 2010. Archived from the original on 19 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
  3. "Orkesten van omroep toch ontzien". Trouw. 2010-12-04. Retrieved 2011-05-01.
  4. "Haitink patron of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra" (Press release). Radio Filharmonisch Orkest. 20 December 2012. Archived from the original on 6 August 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  5. "Karina Canellakis nieuwe chef-dirigent Radio Filharmonisch Orkest" (Press release). Radio Filharmonisch Orkest. 9 May 2018. Retrieved 2018-05-09.
  6. "Radio Filharmonisch Orkest verlengt contract met James Gaffigan" (Press release). Radio Filharmonisch Orkest. May 2018. Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  7. Frits van der Waa (2018-03-18). "De Amerikaanse Karina Canellakis laat zien en horen dat ze haar mannetje staat als dirigent". De Volksrant. Retrieved 2019-07-28.
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