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The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra can look back over a history of more than 100 years. Founded in 1918, it initially comprised musicians who made music together purely for their own pleasure; but starting in 1930, when Eduard Flipse took on leadership, it became professionalized and began its ascent to one of the leading orchestras of the Netherlands. After Flipse retired in 1962, he was succeeded by Franz-Paul Decker, Jean Fournet, Edo de Waart, David Zinman, James Conlon, and Jeffrey Tate as Chief Conductor. For a 13-year period, from 1995 to 2008, Valery Gergiev helmed the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, establishing its international reputation. Among his innovations were founding the annual Gergiev Festival, which the maestro continues to direct. (This year’s edition, starting next week, explores the theme “Paris, mon amour.”) From 2008 to the summer of 2018, Yannick Nézet-Séguin served as Music Director in Rotterdam; upon his departure, he was named Honorary Conductor. Since the fall of 2018, the young Israeli maestro Lahav Shani has taken over the reins; the orchestra went on a tour of China with him in the early summer of 2019. The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra has been headquartered in the cultural center “De Doelen” since 1966, whose grand concert hall seats 2,200. Along with the symphony concerts that take place there, the orchestra also regularly performs opera at the Dutch National Opera and is resident orchestra of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris. Through its concerts, tours, and education programs, the orchestra annually reaches an audience of from 150,000 to 200,000 music lovers. A rich catalogue of recordings ranging from those documenting the era of its founding under Eduard Flipse to its most recent releases under Yannick Nézet-Séguin reflects the orchestra’s artistic achievements.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 20 August 1999, under the direction of Valery Gergiev.