Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin



Artistic Director
Marek Janowski has been Artistic Director of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin since 2002. After the orchestra offered him the position of Principal Conductor on a lifetime basis in autumn of 2008, an agreement was reached to extend the contractual relationship until 2016. Since 2005, Janowski has also been Musical Director of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva.

Musical Direction
As Musical Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in the years from 1984 to 2000, Janowski led the orchestra to international renown and established it as the leading orchestra in France. Alongside his work in France, he served as Principal Conductor of the Gürzenich-Orchester in Cologne from 1986 to 1990, and from 1997 to 1999 as First Guest Conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester in Berlin. From 2000 to 2005, Janowski was Musical Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, and between 2001 and 2003, he held the same position with the Dresdner Philharmonie.

Born in Warsaw in 1939, Janowski was raised and trained in Germany, where he pursued studies as a Kapellmeister in Cologne with Wolfgang Sawallisch, among others. His artistic path has led him from positions as an assistant in Aachen, Cologne, Dusseldorf and Hamburg to engagements as general music director in Freiburg im Breisgau (1973-75) and Dortmund (1975-79). In the following years, Janowski became an active figure in the international opera and concert scene. From the Metropolitan Opera in New York to the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, from Chicago and San Francisco to Hamburg, from Vienna to Berlin and Paris, there is hardly an opera house of international stature at which Janowski has not been a regular guest since the late 1970s.

Concert Conductor
In the 1990s, Janowski withdrew from the opera scene due to the increasing development of director’s theater away from his own fundamental artistic views. In the concert realm, where he has since then focused his efforts, he continues in the grand tradition of German conductors and is known throughout the world as an outstanding conductor of Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, Bruckner and Strauss, but also as an expert for the French repertoire. As such, his parting with the opera was only of an institutional nature, not a musical one. For this reason, Janowski is today more than ever considered an expert on the music of Richard Wagner, for example. As a guest conductor with, among others, ensembles in the USA, including symphony orchestras in Pittsburgh, Boston and San Francisco or the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as in Europe with the Orchestre de Paris, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Copenhagen or the NDR-Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, he enjoys an extraordinary reputation thanks to the efficiency that characterizes his work, which is based on an extremely precise interpretational concept. His unconditional demands in terms of accuracy, his captivating familiarity with the score, imperturbable ear and clear signaling are complemented by his innovative programs and unconventional handling of familiar pieces.

Leading the RSB
Janowski accepted an invitation of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin for the first time in 1999, and in 2000, he conducted the orchestra in the recording of Paul Hindemith’s opera Die Harmonie der Welt that was later recognized with three prizes. He opened his first season as Artistic Director of the orchestra in autumn of 2002 with a Schumann series; in 2004 he founded the series “Bridges of Sound” (Klangbrücken) with works of Hindemith and Haydn. Six violin concertos of the 1930s played by Frank Peter Zimmermann shaped the 2004 | 2005 season. Janowski set a standard in terms of programming and interpretation with a Hartmann-Mozart cycle in 2005 | 2006, while in 2006 | 2007, work focused on the series “Wagner Compact”. A central position in the repertoire of the 2007 | 2008 season was assumed by Anton Bruckner, succeeded in 2008 | 2009 by Richard Strauss. Following Ludwig van Beethoven and a series of French music in 2009 | 2010, a concert performance series featuring ten major operas and musical dramas of Richard Wagner is on the agenda for the years from 2010 to 2013.

More than 50 recordings of international acclaim during the past 35 years, including several complete operas and symphonic cycles, have helped to establish Janowski’s reputation with audiences around the world as a conductor of exceptional ability. To this day, his complete recording of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen tetralogy with the Staatskapelle Dresden (1980-83) remains one of the most acclaimed and musically interesting recordings of this work ever made. Janowski recorded the symphonies of Johannes Brahms in Pittsburgh in 2008. In Geneva, a CD series with the symphonies of Anton Bruckner is nearly completed. In 2009, he undertook a recording of Johannes Brahms’ German Requiem in Berlin and he is currently in the process of recording the complete symphonic works of Hans Werner Henze.

Since Marek Janowski’s era as Artistic Director and Principle Conductor began in 2002, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin has succeed in consolidating its position not only as one of the top orchestras in Berlin, but also among the vanguard of German radio orchestras. This is reflected both in the exceptionally high public esteem of the orchestra’s live concert performances, and by its impressive series of recording awards in recent years.

As Germany’s oldest radio-owned symphony orchestra, the history of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin reaches back to the first hour of German radio in October 1923. Principal conductors such as Sergiu Celibidache, Eugen Jochum, Hermann Abendroth, Rolf Kleinert, Heinz Rögner and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos have formed an ensemble that has experienced the turbulence of Germany’s history in the 20th Century like no other German orchestra. The finest composers of the 20th Century have stepped up to the podium of this orchestra or performed their own works as soloists with the RSB, among them Paul Hindemith, Sergei Prokofiev, Richard Strauss, Arnold Schönberg, Igor Stravinsky and Alexander Zemlinsky; in more recent years they have been joined by Krzysztof Penderecki, Peter Maxwell Davies, Peter Ruzicka and Heinz Holliger.

The level of performance attained under Marek Janowski makes the RSB attractive for important conductors of the day. Conducting personalities the likes of Dmitri Kitajenko, Gerd Albrecht or Jirí Belohlavék have no doubt as to what draws them back to the podium of this orchestra in Berlin. The orchestra regularly extends invitations to younger conductors, offering them the opportunity to take to the podium of a renowned orchestra in the German capital for the first time. Among them have been Andris Nelsons, Kristjan Järvi, Marc Albrecht and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

In addition to its numerous public concerts in Berlin and abroad, the RSB is also available for studio recordings for radio and CD in collaboration with Deutschlandradio. Many of the RSB’s recordings have been distinguished with prestigious awards, among them the 2006 recording of Paul Hindemith’s last opera The Long Christmas Dinner and the same composer’s opera The Harmony of the World (conducted by Marek Janowski). Both volumes of Alfred Schnittke’s Film Music, were awarded the Quarterly Critics Choice award of the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, followed in 2007 by a recording of works of Karl Amadeus Hartmann conducted by Marek Janowski. The orchestra won Echo Klassik awards in 2007 for Ernst Krenek’s opera Sardakai, for the world premiere recording of Hans Werner Henze’s “Aristaeus”, and in 2010, for the recording of Henze’s Sinfonia N. 9.

The RSB has been a member of the Rundfunk-Orchester und -Chöre GmbH Berlin (roc berlin) since 1994. Supported by Deutschlandradio (40%), the Federal Republic of Germany (35%), the State of Berlin (20%) and the Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (5%), the roc berlin unites four great radio ensembles under its umbrella.

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