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The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1949. As its first Chief Conductor, Eugen Jochum helped establish the Orchestra during his 11-year tenure and brought it international renown, especially through his Bruckner performances. Succeeding him was Rafael Kubelík (1961–79), who conducted the ensemble’s first Mahler cycle and expanded its repertoire to include works by Slavic composers as well as 20th-century music. Sir Colin Davis, an acclaimed Berlioz specialist, stood at the helm from 1983 to 1992 and proved to be an equally strong advocate for the Viennese Classical era as well as the works of British composers. Lorin Maazel held the reins from 1993 to 2002, leading complete cycles of works by Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Schubert, and Mahler. Since October 2003, Mariss Jansons has held the position of Chief Conductor, playing a repertoire that ranges widely, from Haydn to Shostakovich and contemporary composers. Many renowned conductors have led the Orchestra, from Otto Klemperer and Karl Böhm through Sir Georg Solti, Carlo Maria Giulini, and Leonard Bernstein to such leading figures of today as Herbert Blomstedt, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Muti, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Franz Welser-Möst, who are conducting the ensemble in the 2017-18 season. Each season, the BR Symphony premieres new works through its “musica viva” series and also performs on tour around the world. The musicians regularly travel to Asia and throughout the U.S. In 2017 they undertook two European tours, and in May 2018 they will perform in Riga, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, and Moscow. The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra has had an annual residency at Lucerne’s Easter Festival since 2004.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 28 August 1965 in a program of works by Bartók and Bruckner under Rafael Kubelík.