The Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin (Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra) was founded in 1923 as the first radio orchestra in Germany (not to be confused with the RIAS-Symphonie Orchester Berlin, established in West Berlin in 1946, which later became known as the Radio-Sinfonie Orchester and, recently, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester). Its chief conductors have included Bruno Seidler-Winkler, Eugen Jochum, Sergiu Celibidache, and Hermann Abendroth. Among its guests have been such illustrious names as Otto Klemperer, Bruno Walter, Erich Kleiber, Herbert von Karajan, and George Szell. Its repertoire spans more than three centuries, but since its founding, the ensemble has been especially dedicated to contemporary works. Many of the greatest composers of the 20th century have performed their own music with this orchestra, either as conductors or soloists, among them Hindemith, Honegger, Milhaud, Prokofiev, Strauss, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Weill, and Zemlinsky—and more recently Krzysztof Penderecki, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Berthold Goldschmidt, and Udo Zimmermann. International tours have played a major role in the orchestra’s activities. Since 1956 it has performed in twenty countries, including China and Japan. It also records extensively for DeutschlandRadio, founded in 1994, and many of its recordings have been awarded the German Record Critics’ Prize. In 2002 Marek Janowski succeeded Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos as the orchestra’s principal music director.
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