The Norwegian Radio Orchestra (Norwegian: Kringkastingsorkestret) was founded in 1946. It is an orchestra consisting of 53 musicians, and it has a wide repertoire, ranging from classical and baroque to contemporary, jazz, pop and rock.
The Norwegian Radio Orchestra's history is also the history of Norwegian broadcasting and therefore represents much of Norway's cultural history. During the tenure of its first Principal Conductor, Øivind Bergh, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra won great popularity in Norway for its programming of entertainment music and light classics. Since then, the radio orchestra has expanded its repertoire and its international reputation.
Sverre Bruland, Principal Conductor from 1976 to 1988, established the orchestra’s commitment to presenting contemporary Norwegian music; while Avi Ostrowsky, Music Director and Chief Conductor from 1989 to 1992, successfully steered the orchestra's programming towards a more international and challenging repertoire.
From 1994 to 2002 Ari Rasilainen oversaw a continuing artistic development and an increasing number of public concerts.
The Norwegian Radio Orchestra has enjoyed great success over the past years, both in Norway and abroad. Today the orchestra is much used, for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation's own productions and for external productions/events in Norway, as well as by foreign concert arrangers. The orchestra recruits some of the best young Norwegian musicians.
The orchestra has collaborated in recent times with international musicians such as Paul McCartney, Barbara Hendricks, Willie Nelson, Natalie Cole, Kiri Te Kanawa, Luciano Pavarotti, Anastasia, Sissel Kyrkjebø, Klovner i Kamp, Warlocks, Popol Ace, Silje Nergaard and Come Shine.
For many years its classical CD recordings have acquired international critical acclaim; and the orchestra has the privilege of performing every year at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert.
The Norwegian Radio Orchestra is well known for using Norwegian conductors, soloists, artists and arrangers to a much larger degree than the other orchestras.
From September 2003, Norwegian conductor Rolf Gupta held the position of Chief Conductor of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra till 2006 when he left the position. The recently appointed chief conductor Thomas Søndergård will be in charge from autumn 2009. First guest conductor from 2008 is Andrew Manze.
New CD Release with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra: "Lights Out Four"