The Sinfonieorchester Basel (Symphony Orchestra Basel, SOB) is one of the oldest orchestras in Switzerland. It is made up of around hundred professional musicians. The orchestra plays its own concert tiers as well as guest concerts at home and abroad. Moreover, it participates in various ballet- and opera-productions in the Theater Basel. Since 2009 the principal conductor has been the renowned American conductor and pianist Dennis Russell Davies.
The Orchestra was founded in 1876, in the same year as the music hall Basel (in German Stadtcasino Basel) was constructed. The orchestra holds its present name of Sinfonieorchester Basel from 1997 when the two orchestras Basler Sinfonie-Orchester and Radio Sinfonieorchester merged into one. Among the conductors with whom the orchestra has been or is closely bound are to be found names such as Johannes Brahms, Felix Weingartner, Gustav Mahler, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Antal Dorati, Gary Bertini, Walter Weller, Armin Jordan, Horst Stein, Otto Klemperer, Nello Santi, Pierre Boulez and Valery Gergiev. The Sinfonieorchester Basel has had world premieres for a whole row of important works of the Twentieth Century, among others those of Béla Bartók, Arthur Honegger and Bohuslav Martin. Another milestone in the history of the orchestra was set in 2012, when the Sinfonieorchester Basel and the organizer of many years AMG (in German Allgemeine Musikgesellschaft Basel) decided to go separate ways. Henceforward, the Sinfonieorchester Basel has been organizing its own subscription concerts. Since a few years ago the orchestra has been demonstrating an increasing international presence. In 2010, for example, the orchestra toured around China. It has also played two much accredited for concerts in St. Petersburg and Moscow in fall 2012 and will tour around England in spring 2014, where it will play at festivals in London, Cambridge, Basingstoke, Coventry and Cardiff.
Music directors of the Sinfonieorchester Basel:
Concertmasters of the season 2013/14 are Axel Schacher and Soyoung Yoon.
The repertoire of the Sinfonieorchester Basel is broad-based: it stretches from the Vienna Classics, via romantic music, to contemporary compositions. To this can be added that new concert forms are sought and genre-overlapping co-productions with jazz, rock and techno-acts are realized. Under the current principal conductor, Dennis Russell Davies, the Sinfonieorchester Basel focuses on modern classics and works by Swiss and American composers. Davies and the Sinfonieorchester Basel cultivate a close working relationship with the Paul-Sacher-Foundation. Numerous CD productions give record of the orchestras work. At the present time, the orchestra is recording all of Franz Schuberts and Arthur Honeggers symphonies.
The Sinfonieorchester Basel plays 14 symphony concerts SOB that are organized by the orchestra itself. International soloists such as David Garrett, Matthias Goerne, Håkan Hardenberger, Fabio Bidini, Véronique Gens, Matt Haimovitz, Mike Svoboda, Karen Robertson and Katia and Marielle Labèque will play together with the orchestra. Besides Dennis Russell Davies other conductors such as Alan Buribayev, Eugène Tzigane and Heinz Holliger will perform in the concerts. For two of these concerts the orchestra will organize so-called discovery-concerts (in German Entdeckerkonzerte) in which the audience will be able to approach the topics of the symphony concert through smaller concerts, short movies, introductions, audio clips and exhibitions. Besides the symphony concerts the orchestra will also play three Cocktailconcerts. In the Cocktailconcerts the audience is seated on cubes and it is possible to meet the orchestra in a more informal setting. The Cocktailconcerts center on works from Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, which are accompanied by a short moderation. Furthermore, the Sinfonieorchester Basel will play four cube sessions, late-night concerts in club atmosphere, and concerts for families and children. In cooperation with the Basel Paper Mill (in German Basler Papiermühle), the Sinfonieorchester Basel will perform in five literary chamber concerts that are summed up under the name Black on White (in German Schwarz auf Weiss).
- Tilman Seebass: 100 Jahre AMG - Die Allgemeine Musikgesellschaft Basel 1876-1976.
- Rudolf Häusler: AMG - Allgemeine Musikgesellschaft Basel 1976-2001: Eine Festschrift zum 125-Jahr-Jubiläum.
- Dr. Hans Ziegler: Geschichte der Basler Orchester-Gesellschaft 1922-1970. Verlag Krebs AG, Basel.
- Sigfried Schibli: Geschichte der Basler Orchester-Gesellschaft 1971-2003. Verlag Krebs AG, Basel 2009.
The recording A different Schumann Vol. 1-3 was awarded the Diapason dOr in May 2004. Another Diapason dOr received the recording Felix Weingartner: Symphonic works I in September 2005.
- Arthur Honegger: Symphonies Nr. 3 & 1
- Franz Schubert: Symphonies Nr. 3 & 5
- Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen: Romantic Music for Christmas
- Anton Bruckner: Symphonies Nr. 4 & 7
- Felix Weingartner: Symphonic works I
- Felix Weingartner: Symphonic works II
- Felix Weingartner: Symphonic works III
- Felix Weingartner: Symphonic works IV
- Felix Weingartner: Symphonic works V
- Felix Weingartner: Symphonic works VI
- Felix Weingartner: Symphonic works VII
- Robert Schumann: A Different Schumann Vol. 1
- Robert Schumann: A Different Schumann Vol. 2
- Robert Schumann: A Different Schumann Vol. 3
- Maurice Ravel: Works for Orchestra
- Bohuslav Martin: Concerts for Piano
- Luigi Nono: Various Works
- Iannis Xenakis: Kraanerg, ballett-music for orchestra and magnetic
- Klaus Huber: Schwarzerde
- Wladimir Vogel: Various works
- Frédéric Chopin: Works for Piano and Orchestra
- Thomas Kessler: Various works
- Othmar Schoeck: Penthesilea