The "Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra" is a symphony orchestra of international renown, whose character has been shaped by several generations of musicians, longstanding collaboration with each of the six chief conductors and the unique acoustic properties of the Concertgebouw’s main hall.
The Orchestra has gained its unique international position with its ‘velvet’ strings, ‘golden’ brass and the exceptional and personal timbre of the woodwinds. The musicians are the guardians of the playing culture that gives the Orchestra its unique sound and flexibility. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra consists of 120 virtuosos who perform together at the highest level.
During the fifty years of Willem Mengelberg’s reign, a wide variety of composers such as Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Claude Debussy and Igor Stravinsky conducted the Concertgebouw Orchestra several times. Celebrities such as Béla Bartók, Sergey Rachmaninoff and Sergey Prokofiev performed their own works as soloists. This crucial bond with contemporary composers was continued with Bruno Maderna, Peter Schat, Luciano Berio, Hans Werner Henze, Luigi Nono and John Adams, and is still RCO policy.
The guest conductors
The Concertgebouw Orchestra has worked with many world-famous guest conductors, each of whom made a unique contribution to the development of the Orchestra’s sound and the repertoire, including Arthur Nikisch, Karl Muck, Bruno Walter, Otto Klemperer, Rafael Kubelik, Pierre Monteux, Eugen Jochum, Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan, Georg Solti, George Szell, Carlos Kleiber, Leonard Bernstein, Colin Davis, Kurt Sanderling, Kirill Kondrashin, Carlo Maria Giulini, Kurt Masur, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta and honorary guest conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt.