The NDR Symphony Orchestra, the future orchestra in residence of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, has its own concert series in Hamburg, Lübeck, Kiel and Wismar. Guest performances have regularly taken the orchestra to the most important European festivals and concert halls. Tours to Asia, South America, and the USA also underline the orchestra’s status as one of the world’s leading concert orchestras.
The NDR Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1945. Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, the orchestra’s first Principal Conductor, defined its artistic profile for more than a quarter of a century. The 20-year-long intensive cooperation between the orchestra and Günter Wand achieved a similar significance. Wand, Principal Conductor since 1982 and named honorary conductor for life as early as 1987, defined the artistic work of the NDR Symphony Orchestra up until his death in 2002. After the celebrated tenures of, amongst others, Christoph Eschenbach and Christoph von Dohnányi, it is now Thomas Hengelbrock who has been the Principal Conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra since 2011. Hengelbrock’s new musical style, his inspiring manner of conveying music and innovative presentation forms have instilled a mood of optimism and a new beginning amongst the orchestra, audience, and press alike. Successful tours of Germany, Europe, South Korea, China, and Japan, as well as concerts as part of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, have been well received, both nationally and internationally. Hengelbrock’s cooperation with the NDR Symphony Orchestra is also documented on CDs with works by Mendelssohn, Schumann, Dvořák, Schubert, and Mahler. In June 2015, the NDR Sinfonieorchester agreed to a long-term collaboration with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra with focus on a broad training project in China. Since 2015 Krzysztof Urbański has accompanied Hengelbrock as Principal Guest Conductor.