The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra distinguishes itself with its intensely energetic performances, its acclaimed recordings and its innovative audience approach. Founded in 1918, it has claimed its own position among Europe’s most foremost orchestras.
After the first pioneering years, the Rotterdam Philharmonic developed into one of the foremost orchestras of the Netherlands under Eduard Flipse, principal conductor from 1930. In the 1970s, under Jean Fournet and Edo de Waart, the orchestra gained international recognition. Valery Gergiev’s appointment heralded a new period of bloom, which continued with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and with Lahav Shani, principal conductor from 2018.
Home of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra is De Doelen Concert Hall, but the orchestra can frequently be heard in other locations – from the local venues to the most prestigious halls at home and abroad. Since 2010, the Rotterdam Philharmonic has been a resident orchestra of the Paris Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. With performances from the local venues to concert halls worldwide, educational performances and community projects, the orchestra reaches an annual audience of 150,000 to 200,000, among which a considerable amount of young people.
Since the groundbreaking Mahler recordings with Eduard Flipse in the 1950s, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra has made a large number of critically lauded recordings. At present the orchestra has contracts with Deutsche Grammophon and BIS Records; in recent years it also recorded for EMI and Virgin Classics. For the re-releasing of historical recordings the orchestra formed its own label Rotterdam Philharmonic Vintage Recordings. Live streams of concerts can be seen regularly via the online platform Medici.tv. During the outbreak of the coronavirus, the orchestra reached its audience with digital content. Most notable was a stay-at-home rendition of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, which was viewed 3 million times and became world news.