The Zurich Chamber Orchestra (Zürcher Kammerorchester; ZKO, German abbreviation) is a Swiss chamber orchestra based in Zurich. The ZKO's principal concert venue in Zurich is the Tonhalle. The ZKO also performs in Zurich at the Rietberg Museum, the ZKO-Haus in the Seefeld quarter of the city, and such churches as the Fraumünster and the Kirche St. Peter. The ZKO presents approximately 40 performances in Zurich each year, in addition to performances elsewhere in Switzerland and abroad. The core of the ZKO consists of 22 string players, with other sections (woodwinds, strings, brass, harp, percussion, and keyboard) used as needed.
Edmond de Stoutz founded the ZKO in the aftermath of World War II, and led its first concerts in 1945. He served as artistic leader and principal conductor of the ZKO until 1996.
He commissioned many works, including Frank Martin'sPolyptyque for violin and two small string orchestras (1973) or Peter Mieg'sConcerto for oboe and orchestra (1957).
In 1996, Howard Griffiths assumed the post of artistic director and served until 2006. Muhai Tang, the ZKO's third principal conductor and artistic director from 2006 through 2011. now has the title of principal guest conductor with the ZKO. In January 2010, the ZKO announced the appointment of Sir Roger Norrington as its fourth principal conductor, as of the 2011-2012 season, with an initial contract of 3 years. He is scheduled to conclude his ZKO tenure in 2016. In April 2015, the ZKO announced the appointment of Daniel Hope as its new music director, effective with the 2016-2017 season. In various specialities, the ZKO enjoys particular collaborations in baroque music with Maurice Steger and in modern music with Jörg Widmann.
In the USA, the ZKO first appeared in New York City in 1964. The ZKO made its Boston debut in 1967 for the Peabody Mason Concert series.
The ZKO has made commercial recordings for such labels as Omega, Novalis, Claves, Teldec, CPO and Sony.