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Guide to the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Find Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir events

The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra comprises over 100 exceptional musicians, and is one of Europe’s foremost and most versatile orchestras. It has a wide-ranging and exciting repertoire, and is always at the cutting edge. The orchestra has received a number of awards and is highly rated for its broad musical scope, as well as for its collaboration with the world’s foremost composers, conductors and soloists.

A radio orchestra was founded in 1925 in conjunction with the first radio broadcasts in Sweden. The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra gained its current name in 1967, and has since then had several eminent music directors. Two of them – Herbert Blomstedt and Esa-Pekka Salonen – were later appointed honorary conductors. Daniel Harding has been the music and artistic director since 2007, and his contract runs until 2025. In answer to the question as to what makes the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra stand out from the crowd he says: “The orchestra has a unique combination of humility, sensibility and musical imagination. I have never had a concert with the orchestra where they haven’t played as though their lives depended on it!”

Wherever in the country you may live, you can listen to the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s concerts from their base at Sveriges Radio’s Berwaldhallen concert hall, on the air and online through Swedish Radio channel P2, and several of the concerts are also screened on Berwaldhallen Play and Swedish Television.

During the COVID-19 pandemic the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra was one of just a few orchestras worldwide that did not stop playing. Their innovative, creative solutions helped the public get through this difficult time, whilst at the same time providing imaginative, world-class concerts.

During autumn 2023 the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Daniel Harding will be visiting the Sibelius Festival in Lahti, and for spring 2024 they have a European tour on their books, including the Wiener Konzerthaus, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and the Philharmonie de Paris. 

For nearly 100 years the Swedish Radio Choir has contributed to the development of the Swedish a cappella tradition. Under the leadership of the legendary conductor Eric Ericson from 1951 to 1982 it gained an excellent international reputation, and is now held to be one of the world’s foremost choirs. The 32 choristers’ ability to seamlessly switch between giving demanding solo performances and blending into the ensemble creates a unique and dynamic body that is praised by music-lovers and critics all over the world, as well as by the many conductors who explore and challenge the choir’s potential.

The Swedish Radio Choir’s work forms an important part of Sveriges Radio’s cultural activities. It is internationally renowned for its diverse repertoire, which ranges from classical choral works to groundbreaking new vocal music. The choir was formed in 1925 and gave its very first concert in May 1925. The level of ambition was high right from the start, the choir’s express goal being to achieve the highest level internationally in everything from Baroque to avant-garde music. 

Since 1979 the Swedish Radio Choir and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra have shared the Berwaldhallen concert hall as their base, and the choir’s concerts are broadcast on Sveriges Radio’s channel P2 and Berwaldhallen Play.

In 2020 Kaspars Putniņš was appointed music and artistic director of the Swedish Radio Choir – the tenth music director since the choir’s formation. Since January 2019 Marc Korovitch has been their choirmaster, with responsibility for the ensemble’s vocal development. In the same year two of the choir’s former chief conductors – Tõnu Kaljuste and Peter Dijkstra – were appointed honorary conductors. Both of them still maintain close contact with the choir and make regular guest appearances.

The Swedish Radio Choir is one of the world’s oldest professional choirs, and will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2025. As early as in spring 2023 preparations for this anniversary began, a tour that will culminate in an anniversary concert at Sveriges Radio’s Berwaldhallen concert hall.