Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
For more than 60 years, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (DSO) has distinguished itself as one of Germany’s leading orchestras. The number of renowned Principal Conductors, the scope and variety of its work, and its particular emphasis on modern and contemporary music, makes the ensemble unique.
The orchestra was founded in 1946 as the RIAS-Symphonie-Orchester by the broadcasting station in the American sector of Berlin. Ferenc Fricsay became the orchestra’s first Principal Conductor. He set the standard and defined the orchestra’s repertoire. The orchestra’s sound was characterized by transparency, structural clarity and plasticity. It quickly became well-known for its commitment to 20th-century music, and its ability to attract first-rate conductors.
In 1964, the young Lorin Maazel took on the artistic responsibility for the orchestra. He was followed by Riccardo Chailly in 1982 and by Vladimir Ashkenazy in 1989, who remained Principal Conductor until 1999. The start of Ashkenazy’s tenure coincided with a significant moment in German history – the fall of the Berlin wall and the reunification of East and West. In 1993, to avoid confusion in Berlin’s newly reunited cultural landscape, the orchestra decided to relinquish its familiar name in favour of its present one – Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.
Kent Nagano has been the deciding influential figure as the orchestra moves into the new century. Nagano was named Principal Conductor and Artistic Director at the beginning of the 2000/2001 season. The unique partnership that quickly developed between orchestra and conductor has been met with enthusiasm by audiences and critics alike. Nagano remained in his position until 2006 and now serves as the orchestra’s Conductor Laureate.