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Symphony Orchestra on stage
Classical Music © Getty Images, Foto: DeshaCAM

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin

The music is the defining feature

RSB offers concerts for the entire family and the oldest radio orchestra in Germany is constantly reinventing itself.


The music is the defining feature of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and is the orchestra members devote their lives to it with great dedication and passion, whether performing contemporary music or at a concert for children.

The Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin (RSB) is the oldest radio orchestra in Germany. It no longer plays just for the radio, but also live in concert. The ensemble's repertoire includes all styles and periods from the pre-classical to the modern. The orchestra offers cycles of concerts focused on composers such as Schumann, Mozart, Hartmann, Shostakovich, Bartók, Ravel, Bruckner, Strauss, Beethoven and Wagner.

Recurring guest appearances at German and European music festivals as well as tours to Japan, China and Korea attest to the international reputation of the RSB. It also frequently provides live accompaniment to silent film classics. In addition to its concerts and recordings, the RSB's concerts for children and young people are an important part of its schedule.
The RSB does not have its own concert hall, although it does appear regularly at the Philharmonie. It also has performed in other, less likely places, like the German Historical Museum.

From a one-man show to a major orchestra  

The RSB was founded in 1923 to appear on early radio broadcasts. Originally, the only constant was musician Otto Urack, who would be joined by others hired for the evening. It was only in 1925 that the orchestra began to hire its own musicians. Later, some of the most important composers of the twentieth century would conduct the RSB or perform as soloists with the orchestra, including:

  • Arnold Schönberg
  • Richard Strauss
  • Igor Stravinsky
  • and Kurt Weill.

After the end of the war, the RSB gave its first public performance on 9 March 1946 in the ruins of destroyed Berlin, including Beethoven's 7th Symphony. Just days after the end of the war, the orchestra played one of the first concerts in the ruins of the destroyed capital on 18 May 1945. Marek Janowski has served as artistic director and chief conductor since 2002, with Vladimir Jurowski scheduled to take the baton at the beginning of the 2017-18 season.

Information for school groups

The orchestra offers a diverse education programme. For certain concerts, the RSB offers workshops for school classes where they work intensively with the music being performed. In its Klassik macht Ah!series, the musicians introduce the works. School groups are also welcome to attend rehearsals.