The Rundfunk‐Sinfonieorchester Berlin was the first symphony orchestra set up by a broadcasting network in Germany, and was founded in 1923. Marek Janowski has been its principal conductor since 2002. Its former principal conductors have included Eugen Jochum, Sergiu Celibidache, Hermann Abendroth, Heinz Rögner and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, as well as guest conductors such as Otto Klemperer, Bruno Walther and Erich Kleiber.
The efforts of such distinguished figures have created a body whose repertoire ranges from the pre‐classical period to modernism, and since its foundation it has shown a particular commitment to contemporary music. Some of the finest composers of the first half of the 20th century have either taken the rostrum or performed their own works as soloists with the orchestra. They have included Paul Hindemith, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud, Serge Prokofiev, Kurt Weill and Alexander Zemlinsky, and more recently Krzysztof Penderecki, Peter Maxwell Davies, Friedrich Goldmann, Berthold Goldschmidt and Udo Zimmermann.
In collaboration with Deutschlandradio Kultur, the main partner in the Rundfunk‐Orchester und ‐Chöre Berlin GmbH (founded in 1994), of which the RSB is a part, the Rundfunk‐Sinfonieorchester Berlin has been giving some 60 public concerts annually, as well as a lot of CD recording sessions. Some of the latest recordings, for labels such as DECCA, BMG/EMI, Wergo, BIS, Ondine, BERLIN Classics and KOCH International, have received the Cannes Classical Award, the Gramophone Award, the Price Echo Klassik, the Grand Prix du disque de l’Académie Charles Cros or the German record critics’ prize.
Since 1956 the orchestra has played in 20 countries, seven times in Japan, 1998 in China, 2000 it successfully toured South America. Besides its international presence the ensemble of course performs throughout all of Germany.