Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
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|Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana (OSI)|
|Former name||Orchestra della Radio Svizzera Italiana, Orchestra della Radiotelevisione della Svizzera Italiana|
Orchestra della Svizzera italiana (OSI) is a symphony orchestra founded in 1935 in Lugano, Switzerland.
Founded in Lugano in 1935 as the Orchestra della Radio della Svizzera italiana, it played a major role in the region's musical development, helping to establish festivals in Lugano and Ascona from the 1940s. Over the years it was directed by musical figures such as Ernest Ansermet, Igor Stravinsky, Leopold Stokowski, Sergiu Celibidache and Hermann Scherchen, and collaborated with composers such as Mascagni, Richard Strauss, Honegger, Milhaud, Martin and Hindemith, and more recently with Berio, Henze and Penderecki. Its first principal conductor Leopoldo Casella was succeeded in 1938 by Otmar Nussio from Graubünden, under whose directorship (to 1968) the orchestra gave a greatly increased number of concerts, opening the way to international engagements. From 1969 to 1991, with Marc Andreae as its principal conductor, the Orchestra della Radio Televisione della Svizzera italiana (as it was now called) consolidated its reputation, expanding its repertoire and fostering first performances of works by major living composers.
In 1991 the orchestra took on its current name and began to win international recognition, performing in cities such as Vienna, Amsterdam, St Petersburg, Paris, Milan and Salzburg. In 1999 it began its close partnership with Alain Lombard, who first took over as principal conductor and then in 2005 was appointed honorary conductor. From 2008 to 2010 Mikhail Pletnev was principal guest conductor. Since September 2013 the OSI has worked with the conductor and pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy, contracted to direct the orchestra for the following four seasons as principal guest conductor. Since 2015, OSI is led by the German conductor Markus Poschner.
The OSI performs at venues in Switzerland and abroad. Funded principally by the Canton of Ticino, Radiotelevisione svizzera (RSI), the City of Lugano and the Associazione degli Amici dell'OSI, the orchestra is one of thirteen professional orchestras currently active in Switzerland. Consisting of forty-one permanent musicians, it performs two concert seasons a year for RSI-Rete Due (the RSI Auditorium Concerts and the Rete Due Autumn Concerts at the Palazzo dei Congressi in Lugano), and regularly takes part in the Lugano Festival, the Settimane Musicali in Ascona and the Martha Argerich Project. Its strong ties with the region are maintained through an extensive series of concerts aimed at local communities, including summer, family, and school concerts, and joint projects with the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana.
Since 2010 the OSI has performed at the Parco della Musica in Rome under Lorin Maazel, at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan with Salvatore Accardo, on tour throughout Switzerland with Vadim Repin, in the main theatres of Brazil under John Neschling and in South Korea with Vladimir Ashkenazy. For the Verdi bicentenary the orchestra gave three concerts with the conductor Nello Santi. In 2012–13 it was invited to play at the Théâtre Équilibre in Fribourg, the Tonhalle in Zürich, the Stadtcasino in Basel and the Zermatt Festival; at the Sala Verdi of the Milan Conservatory, the Teatro Fraschini in Pavia and the Teatro Ponchielli in Cremona; and at the Franziskaner Konzerthaus in Villingen-Schwenningen.
The OSI has made studio recordings for radio and for record labels such as Chandos, Hyperion, EMI and Deutsche Grammophon. Its recordings for Deutsche Grammophon include a four-CD boxed set issued in 2012 to mark the first ten years of the orchestra's concerts for the Martha Argerich Project. Its awards include the recent Diapason d'Or (January 2015) for its CD of the symphonies of Charles Gounod on the CPO label.
- Markus Poschner (from September 2015) principal conductor
- Vladimir Ashkenazy (from September 2013) principal guest conductor
- Alain Lombard (from 2005) honorary conductor and (1999–2005) principal conductor
- Mikhail Pletnev (2008–2010) principal guest conductor
- Serge Baudo (1997–2000) principal guest conductor
- Nicholas Carthy (1993–1996) principal conductor
- Marc Andreae (1969–1991) principal conductor
- Otmar Nussio (1938–1968) principal conductor
- Leopoldo Casella (1933–1938) principal conductor