Taking over the legacy of the first philharmonic orchestra to be created in the 1930s by French radio, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France was remodeled in the mid 1970s following Pierre Boulez’ criticism of the rigidity of traditional symphonic groups. On the contrary, the orchestra can simultaneously break down into several formations ranging from a small ensemble to a full orchestra, adapting to all configurations required by the repertory from the 18th century to today.
The composer Gilbert Amy and the conductor Marek Janowski were the orchestra’s first musical directors.Myung-Whun Chung, who celebrated his tenth anniversary at the head of the orchestra in 2010, can appreciate the recognition it has gained as one of the most remarkable European phalanxes. Some of the world’s greatest musicians have come to contribute their part to the work of the orchestra alongside Myung-Whun Chung, such as Pierre Boulez, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Valery Gergiev, Ton Koopman, as well as the best conductors of the younger generation such as Gustavo Dudamel, Alan Gilbert and Lionel Bringuier.
The Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France is in residence at the Radio France auditorium. In addition, while awaiting the opening of a new 1500-seat auditorium at the Radio France premises in 2013, the orchestra also takes part in the programs of the Philharmonie de Paris, the Châtelet Theatre and the Opéra Comique. All these concerts are broadcast on France Musique and can be replayed on the Radio France website. Every month, some of these are also available through video streaming on the ArteLiveWeb, RadioFrance and Citedelamusiquelive.tv websites. The orchestra is also regularly screened on the France Télévisions, Arte and Mezzo TV channels. Its recording activity remains very intense and more than 300 items are available for download on iTunes.
The orchestra’s musicians also work with schools and children’s wards in hospitals. Together with Myung-Whun Chung, they have been UNICEF Ambassadors since 2007. They established a “Philharmonic Academy” for young musicians in cooperation with the Paris Conservatory.
The Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France has set up a dedicated website for young listeners. It receives the support of its main patron, Amundi, and of other partners who together have formed the ProPhil association.