About WDR SinfonieorchesterSince its founding more than 70 years ago, the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln has established itself as an internationally respected ensemble. Together with the world’s finest conductors, soloists, and composers, the orchestra performs not only in Cologne and the surrounding region, but also throughout the world.
Under the direction of Gary Bertini, who was Principal Conductor from 1983 to 1991, the orchestra produced critically acclaimed recordings of 19th century symphonic music, particularly the symphonies of Gustav Mahler. With Semyon Bychkov, Principal Conductor from 1997 to 2010, the orchestra’s international reputation grew significantly, with tours throughout Europe, Asia, and America as well as award-winning recordings of the music of Dimitrij Shostakovich, Richard Strauss, Sergej Rachmaninoff, Giuseppe Verdi, and Richard Wagner.
The WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne has been an essential participant in the history of contemporary music, with countless premieres and recordings of works commissioned by the WDR and collaborations with some of the most significant composers of our time, such as Luciano Berio, Hans Werner Henze, Mauricio Kagel, Krzysztof Penderecki, Igor Stravinsky, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Bernd Alois Zimmermann. Jukka-Pekka Saraste has been the orchestra’s Principal Conductor since 2010.