Royal Danish Orchestra

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The Royal Danish Orchestra (RDO)
Copenhagen Opera House - front view.jpg
Copenhagen Opera House
Founded 1448
Concert hall Copenhagen Concert Hall
Principal conductor Michael Boder

The Royal Danish Orchestra (Det Kongelige Kapel) is a Danish orchestra based in Copenhagen. The Danish name for the orchestra indicates its original function as an ensemble geared to supplying the music for court events. The orchestra traces its origins back to 1448 and the Trumpet Corps at the royal court of King Christian I, and thus has claims to be the oldest orchestra in the world.

Over the years, the orchestra moved out of the court and settled down in the pit at the Royal Danish Theatre. Its leaders included Christoph Willibald Gluck, who composed the music for special occasions such as the celebration of the birth, in 1749, of the later King Christian VII, whilst in Denmark. A growing number of engagements saw an increase in the size of the orchestra. When Johan Gottlieb Naumann carried out his reforms in the 1780s, the ensemble numbered 46 members. At this time, the Chorus of the Royal Danish Opera became permanently assigned to the Royal Danish Theatre. F.L.Æ. Kunzen introduced Mozart into the ensemble's repertoire in the 1790s.

Gammel scene or Old Stage at Kongens Nytorv, home of the Royal Danish Orchestra since 1874.

The tenure of Johan Svendsen, starting in 1883, began a pronounced period of growth and development for the orchestra, including Svendsen’s introduction of major symphonic works in a series of concerts by the Royal Danish Orchestra that gradually became a tradition in the world of Danish music, while the major symphonies became the domain of the orchestra. Carl Nielsen served with the orchestra for many years, partly as 2nd violinist and partly as conductor. King Frederik IX enjoyed a particularly close relationship with the Royal Danish Orchestra, pursuing with its members his interest for the art of conducting.

Many great conductors and composers have worked with the Royal Danish Orchestra over the years, including Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein, Otto Klemperer, Georg Solti, Sergiu Celibidache and Daniel Barenboim.

The Royal Danish Orchestra presently consists of around 130 musicians. The Copenhagen Concert Hall of Danish Radio is the principal venue for the orchestra's traditional symphony concerts. The orchestra also performs at the Copenhagen Opera House as the pit orchestra for the Royal Danish Opera, as well as holding annual chamber orchestra concerts on its main stage. The smaller experimental stage Takkelloftet is the venue of their chamber concerts. Most ballet and some opera performances takes place at the Old Stage.

Michael Schønwandt was the orchestra's most recent principal conductor, from 2000 to 2011. In September 2011, the orchestra announced the appointment of Jakub Hrůša as its next music director, effective September 2013.[1] However, in January 2012, in the wake of the resignation of Keith Warner from the artistic directorship of the Royal Danish Opera following proposed budget cuts, Hrůša announced that he would not take the music directorship of Royal Danish Opera, and with that the corresponding post with the Royal Danish Orchestra, in solidarity with Warner's action.[2] In May 2012, the orchestra announced the appointment of Michael Boder as its next chief conductor and artistic advisor, effective August 2012. In November the orchestra announced the Russian-born conductor Alexander Vedernikov as their next chief conductor. Vedernikov has already conducted several concerts with the orchestra.[3]

Principal conductors[edit]


  1. ^ Mia Kjeldset (2011-09-30). "Stjernefrø skal svinge kongelig dirigentstok". Danish Radio (DR), PR 4 København. Archived from the original on 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  2. ^ Torben Benner (2012-01-24). "Medarbejdere på Operaen er i chok efter chefs smækken med døren". Politiken. Archived from the original on 2012-04-07. Retrieved 2012-05-27. 
  3. ^ Birgitte Kjær (2012-05-22). "Det Kongelige Teater hyrer to tyske chefer". Politiken. Archived from the original on 2012-06-17. Retrieved 2012-05-27. 

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