»An Orchestral Think Tank«

The Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (DSO) emanates into the world from the Berliner Philharmonie, while remaining societally relevant at all times, close to people and keeping pace with the times. Concert programmes rich in associations, repertoire discoveries, cross-genre projects and a passionate commitment to contemporary music define its DNA, as does the courage to deploy unusual formats to convey music. It is with good reason that  the Süddeutsche Zeitung has called the DSO the »think tank« among the capital city’s orchestras.

Democracy and Diversity

Founded as RIAS Symphony Orchestra in 1946 in the wake of the US-American »re-education«, right from the  outset the DSO successfully championed the revival of works by composers who had been stigmatized as »degenerate« by the National Socialists. The orchestra – which was renamed Radio Symphonie-Orchester Berlin in 1956 and received its current name in 1993 – has at all times dedicated itself to disrupting the established canon. The motto for the 2023/2024 season was: »No concert without a female composer!« – a feminist
music policy initiative to make heard the works of women who have composed, and to invite publishing houses and interpreters to expand the repertoire. This is a path the DSO will continue to pursue. In addition, selected projects in the current season grapple critically with forms of discrimination such as anti-Semitism and racism.

Close to the Audience

Creating new contexts in which people are invited to experience music has always been an integral part of the DSO’s approach. The hosted Casual Concerts with a lounge and live act have been successfully building a bridge between club music and classical music since 2007. And with formats like ›Schöne Töne Live‹ (Beautiful Sounds Live), ›Musik und Verbrechen‹ (Music and Crime), Cabaret and Children’s Concerts, the DSO is reaching a broad, increasingly young audience. The ›Symphonic Mob‹ as well, where amateur musicians and professionals make music together, has developed into a successful concept, realized across Germany and Europe as a protected brand. In addition, the DSO has generated innovative momentum with remix competitions, experimental electronic music and unusual film projects, as well as neighborhood concerts on public squares. The new ›DSO in the Zoo‹ cooperation project for the whole family will kick off the 2024/2025 season.

Music Director Robin Ticciati

Since 2017 – and until the end of 2024 – Robin Ticciati has led the DSO. He has regularly demonstrated his versatility and flexibility with his wide-ranging repertoire from the Renaissance to the present day, with exceptional projects like playing on gut strings and free improvisations, as well as elaborate video productions.  The high points of the 2024/2025 season include the Second Symphonies of Mahler and Sibelius, Bruckner’s Seventh and Beethoven’s Third, as well as concerti by Elgar and a premiere by Mark Simpson.

Artistic Friendships

Distinguished music directors also shaped the first seven decades of the orchestra’s history: Ferenc Fricsay, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Chailly, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Kent Nagano, Ingo Metzmacher and Tugan Sokhiev are the names of Ticciati’s predecessors. The association over many years with top-class guest conductors such as Marin Alsop, Elim Chan, Maxim Emelyanychev, Manfred Honeck, Marie Jacquot or Santtu-Matias Rouvali contributes to the orchestra’s renown, as does the regular collaboration with Kent Nagano, now the orchestra’s Conductor Laureate,  and the other former music directors. 

Media Presence

The DSO’s concerts in Berlin’s Philharmonie are recorded by Deutschlandfunk Kultur, Deutschlandfunk and rbb’s radio3, and broadcast in Germany as well as across Europe and around the world. There is also a collaboration between ARTE Concert and rbb television for live and TV broadcasts. Opera recordings from the Festival Theatre in Baden-Baden and from the Salzburg Festival are available as DVDs from Arthaus Musik. The DSO received a Grammy Award in 2011 for the premiere recording on CD of Kaija Saariaho’s opera ›L’amour de loin‹ conducted by Kent Nagano. Robin Ticciati and the orchestra have released numerous recordings that have been highly acclaimed by critics. 

30 Jahre ROC

Since 1994, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin is one of the four ensembles of the Rundfunk Orchester und Chöre gGmbH (ROC), which is supported by Deutschlandradio (40 %), the Federal Republic of Germany (35 %), the state of Berlin (20 %) and Radio Berlin-Brandenburg (5 %)..

As at: April 2024