The Düsseldorfer Symphoniker are the Düsseldorf Tonhalle’s resident orchestra. This means they form the core, driving force and artistic heart of one of Germany’s leading concert halls. Their work in the Tonhalle and in the Oper am Rhein gives the Symphoniker an unusual profile which is all their own. On their regular concert tours the orchestra carries Düsseldorf’s reputation as a city of culture out into the world.
The Düsseldorfer Symphoniker have a long tradition: right back in the 18th century, internationally celebrated artists, among them George Frideric Handel and Arcangelo Corelli, worked with the local court orchestra. 1818 saw the formation in Düsseldorf of an association that still exists and was to become the cradle of the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker: the ‘Städtische Musikverein zu Düsseldorf’ is one of the world’s oldest mixed concert choruses. With its unbroken tradition, it can look back on an impressive list of musical directors, of whom Mendelssohn and Schumann are today the best-known.
In the early 20th century too, many great names in international music, including soloists Edwin Fischer, Elly Ney and Vladimir Horowitz, as well as conductors Richard Strauss and Jascha Horenstein, worked with the Symphoniker. During the Nazi period, they became one of the ‘Reich Orchestras’ alongside the Berlin Philharmonic and the Bruckner Orchestra in Linz. Reconstruction post-1945 was in the hands of Heinrich Hollreiser. He was succeeded as General Music Director by Eugen Szenkar, Jean Martinon, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Henryk Czyz, Willem van Otterloo, Bernhard Klee, David Shallon, Salvador Mas Conde and John Fiore. Carlos Kleiber, Hans Wallat, Christian Thielemann and Fabio Luisi have conducted the orchestra at operatic performances. Since 2009 Andrey Boreyko, one of the leading conductors of his generation, has been GMD of the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker.
Alongside its purely concert activities, the orchestra sets great store by its educational work. In intensive collaboration with schools, topics related to music and composers are dealt with in an interdisciplinary fashion, with workshops organized for young musicians. School tours by the orchestra and school visits by individual musicians are everyday events, as are visits by school groups to the Tonhalle. The concert series 3-2-1 IGNITION achieved nationwide recognition for its achievement in establishing classical music as a leisure pursuit for teenagers.