WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne

The WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne (WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln) is a German radio orchestra based in Cologne. In Cologne, the orchestra primarily performs concerts at the WDR Funkhaus Wallrafplatz and at the Kölner Philharmonie. The orchestra is particularly known for its performances of 20th-century and contemporary music. It has commissioned and premiered works from such composers as Luciano Berio, Hans Werner Henze, Mauricio Kagel, Krzysztof Penderecki, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Bernd Alois Zimmermann.

The orchestra was founded in 1947 by Allied occupation authorities after World War II, as the orchestra of Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk (NWDR; Northwest German Radio), with the name Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester (Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra). For the first part of its history, the orchestra did not have a principal conductor, but worked with guest conductors. Christoph von Dohnányi was the first conductor to serve as the orchestra's principal conductor, from 1964 to 1969. In the 1990s, the orchestra changed its name to the WDR Sinfonieorchester (WDR Symphony Orchestra).

In February 2017, Cristian Măcelaru first guest-conducted the orchestra. He has since returned for three subsequent guest appearances with the orchestra. In May 2019, the orchestra announced the appointment of Măcelaru as its next chief conductor, effective with the 2019-2020 season, with an initial contract of 3 years.[1]

The orchestra has recorded commercially for such labels as Avie,[2] Hänssler,[3][4] Kairos[5], CPO,[6] and Wergo.[7]

See also

Principal conductors


  1. "Cristian Măcelaru wird neuer Chefdirigent des WDR Sinfonieorchesters" (Press release). WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne. 2 May 2018. Retrieved 2018-05-05.
  2. Andrew Clements (2003-10-17). "Mahler: Symphony No 3; Höller: Der Ewige Tag, Lipovsek/ WDR Choir and Symphony Cologne/ Bychkov Avie". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
  3. Andrew Clements (2006-09-15). "Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements; Symphony in C, etc, WDR Radio Choir Cologne / SWRSO Baden-Baden/ Gielen". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
  4. Hugh Canning (2009-04-26). "Wagner: Lohengrin - Cast, Choirs, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, cond Semyon Bychkov". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2011-05-01.
  5. Andrew Clements (2008-08-15). "Classical review: Grisey: Le Temps et l'Ecume; Les Chants de l'Amour; Ensemble S/WDR/Symphony Orch Köln/Pomarico/Schola Heidelberg/Nussbaum / SWRSO Baden-Baden/ Gielen". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
  6. Michael Dervan (2011-02-18). "WDR Sinfonieorchester Koln/Howard Griffiths: Ries - Concert Overtures (CPO 777 609-2)". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2011-05-01.
  7. Kate Molleson (2016-08-25). "Zimmermann: Symphony in One Movement CD review – deadpan and supremely foreboding". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-01-04.
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