Starting in September 2006, the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra will resume its residence at the Salle Pleyel. It will play twenty concerts for this season, most often on Fridays. France Musique will be recording all of the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra season’s concerts at the Salle Pleyel.
Heir of the first Philharmonic Orchestra founded in the 30’s by the French radio, the orchestra was re-established in 1976 at the instigation of Pierre Boulez, who criticized the rigidity of the traditional symphony orchestras. L’Orchestre philharmonique can therefore cover a vast repertoire from the 18th century up until our time, written for either a small ensemble or a large orchestra. Each group is formed according to the composition of works, several groups working simultaneously. The first music directors of the orchestra were composer Gilbert Amy and conductor Marek Janowski. Since the beginning of the new millennium, Myung-Whun Chung is the Music Director. Now, the orchestra produces more than 50 original programmes every year, at its Salle Pleyel residence or at the Cité de la Musique, the Theâtre du Châtelet or the Opéra Comique. A new 1,500-seat auditorium designed by Mr. Toyota (Nagata Acoustics) is set to open at Radio France in 2013-2014.
After more than 10 years at the head of the orchestra, Myung-Whun Chung is proud to have his orchestra considered as one of Europe’s most remarkable. With works dedicated to Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler, Strauss, Dvorak and the French repertoire, as well as to operas such as Fidelio, Otello, Tannhäuser and Carmen, these last years have been marked by numerous international tours on every continents, in China, Japan, Korea, Middle-East, United States, Latin America, Russia and Europe.
The best conductors have joined Myung-Whun Chung, enriching the orchestra, from the extraordinary personalities of Pierre Boulez and Esa-Pekka Salonen in the 20th century repertoire to Ton Koopman and Frans Brüggen in the classical repertoire. The orchestra enjoys his regular collaboration with the most brilliant conductors of the new generation : Gustavo Dudamel, Lionel Bringuier, Mikko Franck, Alan Gilbert and Daniel Harding.
As a partner of France Télévisions, the orchestra is often present on the France 2, France 3 and France 5 antennas. Every month, some concerts are offered on streaming on the Radio France, ArteLiveWeb and Citedelamusique.tv websites. All concerts are recorded and broadcast on France Musique. They are all postcasted on the Radio France website. Additionally, France Inter regularly broadcast concerts of the orchestra.
The orchestra recording activity remains steady with the best record labels. In 2012, Deutsche Grammophon publishes a new Ravel disc conducted by Myung-Whun Chung and Henri Dutilleux disc conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Decca publishes a French melodies album with Renée Fleming conducted by Alan Gilbert and Naïve commercializes new DVD's of Les Clefs de l’orchestre with Jean-François Zygel. More than 300 references are now available on iTunes.
The musicians are particularly anxious to pass their passion on to the youngest. Year round, in and around Paris, these musicians integrate themselves in schools and in hospitals in order to visit sick children. All musicians of the orchestra have been ambassadors of UNICEF since 2007 beside Myung-Whun Chung. They have also developed a Philharmonic Academy in partnership with the Conservatoire de Paris. A website is especially dedicated to the young audience: ZikPhil.fr which presents the totality of the programmes devoted to school and family audiences.