WDR Symphony Orchestra Orchestra
Numerous first performances of commissioned works made a contribution to the history of music and to the support of contemporary music. Great composers such as Igor Stravinsky, Luciano Berio, Hans Werner Henze, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Mauricio Kagel, Wolfgang Rihm, Jörg Widmann and Krysztof Penderecki performed their works with WDR Symphony Orchestra. The WDR Symphony Orchestra moreover has significantly contributed to the dissemination of classical music through radio and television broadcasts, digital media and its education programs.
From the beginning of the 2010/2011 season till 2018/19, Jukka-Pekka Saraste was engaged as chief conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra. The Finnish maestro has brought the music of his countryman Jean Sibelius into sharper focus and created a Brahms cycle that was hailed far beyond the region. Saraste has also paid serious attention to the national movements in the music of European Romanticism and to the classic repertoire of the Modern era. Under his direction, the WDR Symphony Orchestra has released CD recordings of works by Mahler, Bruckner, Schoenberg, Stravinsky and Beethoven which have been acknowledged with generous critical praise and awarded major prizes.
At the beginning of the 2019/20 season, Cristian Măcelaru, one of the fast-rising stars of the conducting world, has been appointed Chief Conductor of the WDR Sinfonieorchester.
Since many years, the WDR Symphony Orchestra has had a strong relationship with Marek Janowski. In 1983 Marek Janowski made his first appearance with the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne. In February 2018, his first CD together with the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne with works by Hindemith (Symphonic Metamorphosis, Nobilissima Visione and Boston Symphony) was released by Pentatone. In addition a Beethoven cycle will be published in early 2020. On occasion of Marek Janowski’s 80th birthday the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne toured together with him through Germany, including a concert in the Berliner Philharmonie.