The Orchestre National de Lyon (ONL) is a French orchestra based in Lyon. Its primary concert venue is l'Auditorium de Lyon. The orchestra operates with the help of a subsidy from the French Ministry of Culture and from the Rhône-Alpes regional council. The current general director of the orchestra is Aline Sam-Giao.
The orchestra's precursor was the Société des Grands Concerts de Lyon, which Georges Martin Witkowski established in 1905. Witkowski directed the society's concerts from 1905 to 1943. His son, Jean Witkowski, succeeded him from 1943 to 1953.
In 1969, the city of Lyon formally organised an orchestra for the city, with the initial name of l'Orchestre Philharmonique Rhône-Alpes. Louis Frémaux was the first music director of the orchestra, from 1969 to 1971. Serge Baudo then became music director in 1971. During his tenure, the orchestra took up residence at l'Auditorium de Lyon, in 1975. In the 1978-1979 season, Bernard Têtu formed an affiliate chorus for the ONL, which took on the name of Choeur de l'Orchestre national de Lyon with the subsequent renaming of the orchestra. In 1993, the ONL chorus was renamed the Choeurs et Solistes de Lyon-Bernard Têtu, and continues to collaborate regularly with the ONL.
In 1983, the orchestra was renamed l'Orchestre National de Lyon, its current name. Baudo concluded his tenure with the ONL in 1986. Emmanuel Krivine then served as music director from 1987 to 2000.
The American conductor David Robertson was ONL music director from 2000 to 2004, and concurrently the artistic director of l'Auditorium de Lyon, the first person to hold both posts simultaneously. Robertson conducted the ONL's first appearance at The Proms in August 2002. From 2005 to 2011, Jun Märkl was the ONL's music director. The most recent music director was Leonard Slatkin from 2011 through 2017. Slatkin now has the title of Directeur musical honoraire of the ONL.
In December 2017, Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider first guest-conducted the ONL. In December 2018, the ONL announced the appointment of Szeps-Znaider as its next music director, effective September 2020, with an initial contract of four seasons.
The orchestra has recorded for several labels, including the following:
- harmonia mundi (Baudo, music of Henri Dutilleux)
- naïve (Robertson, music of Alberto Ginastera and Steve Reich)
- Naxos (Märkl, music of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel; Slatkin, music of Ravel and of Saint-Saëns)
- Altus (Märkl, Beethoven Symphony No. 9 and Mahler Symphony No. 3, recorded live)
Another affiliated ensemble with the ONL is the Ensemble de Cuivres et Percussions de l'ONL (literal translation: Brass and Percussion Ensemble of the ONL), formed by tubist Christian Delange and 11 musicians of the ONL.
- Louis Frémaux (1969–1971)
- Serge Baudo (1971–1986)
- Emmanuel Krivine (1987–2000)
- David Robertson (2000–2004)
- Jun Märkl (2005–2011)
- Leonard Slatkin (2011–2017)
- Nikolai Szeps-Znaider (2020-present)
- Michael Jarrell (1991–1993)
- Pascal Dusapin (1993–1995)
- Jean-Louis Florentz (1995–1997)
- Philippe Hersant (1998–2000)
- Thierry Escaich (2007–2010)
- Tim Ashley (2002-08-26). "Prom 45: Orch. National de Lyon/Robertson (Royal Albert Hall, London)". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
- Mark Stryker, "DSO's Slatkin named director of Orchestre National de Lyon". Detroit Free Press, 26 May 2010.
- "Leonard Slatkin vers de nouveaux horizons à l'Orchestre national de Lyon" (PDF) (Press release). Orchestre National de Lyon. 5 April 2016. Retrieved 2016-04-08.[permanent dead link]
- "Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider: nouveau directeur musical de l'ONL" (Press release). Ville de Lyon. 3 December 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
- Nichols, Roger, "Dutilleux at 75" (January 1991). The Musical Times, 132 (1775): pp. 701-702.
- Andrew Clements (2008-05-30). "Debussy: La Mer; Prélude à l'Après-Midi d'un Faune; Jeux; etc, Orchestre National de Lyon/ Märkl". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-12-25.
- Tim Ashley (2010-09-09). "Debussy: Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien / Khamma". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
- Stephen Pritchard (2011-06-19). "Debussy: Orchestral works Vol 6 – review". The Observer. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
- Tim Ashley (2009-08-14). "Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé; Shéhérazade Overture". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-12-25.
- Kate Molleson (2015-10-08). "Ravel: L'Enfant et les sortileges, Ma Mère l'Oye review – solid, affectionate, but a little too grown-up". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
- Tim Ashley (2015-01-22). "Saint-Saëns: Symphony No 3 'Organ' etc CD review – a fine version played on the organ it was written for". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-04-08.