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The history of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, which gave its inaugural concert on 30 November 1918, is intimately linked to Ernest Ansermet, a former maths teacher, who launched the Orchestra during his collaboration with the Ballets russes of Sergey Diaghilev and served as Music Director from 1918 until 1967. Initially made up of sixty-two musicians contracted for six months per year, it performed in Geneva, Lausanne, and other cities in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. In 1937, while scouting a summer home for the Orchestra, Ansermet became the instigator of the Lucerne Festival. His successors have included Armin Jordan, perceived as his spiritual heir, and Marek Janowski. The collaboration with Radio suisse romande, which began in the 1930s, quickly enhanced the renown of the Orchestra, as did its numerous recordings, often made at night immediately after concert or opera performances, and a burgeoning worldwide touring schedule. From its earliest days, it has promoted contemporary music, premiering works by Benjamin Britten, Claude Debussy, Arthur Honegger, Frank Martin, Darius Milhaud, Igor Stravinsky, and many later composers. Today comprising 113 full-time musicians, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande appears regularly around the world, continuously making debut appearances in new venues (the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in 2006, Teatro alla Scala in Milan in 2010, Philharmonic Hall in St Petersburg in 2012). It participates in performances of opera at the Grand Théâtre de Genève and organises an entire programme for young audiences. During the tenure of the Estonian conductor Neeme Järvi (2012 – 15), the Orchestra has recorded several discs for Chandos, focussing mainly on rarely performed works of the French repertoire.

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Chandos Records
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United Kingdom