The Munich Radio Orchestra (German: Münchener Rundfunkorchester) is associated with Germany's Bavarian Radio public broadcaster, but should not be confused with the network's other orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks), which is devoted to mainstream symphonic repertory. The Munich Radio Orchestra has specialized in light music, adding forays into Italian opera, contemporary sacred music, and even -- in its frequent concerts in Munich -- jazz and video game music, the latter perhaps designed for the orchestra's extensive youth activities.
Orchestral music associated with Munich radio dates back to the 1920s, but the current Munich Radio Orchestra was founded in 1952. Its first music director was Werner Schmidt-Boelke, who built it into an ensemble devoted to the accompaniment of operetta productions over his 15-year tenure. The focus on operetta and opera has continued into the 21st century: the year 2015 saw the orchestra performing on a new recording of Lehár's Giuditta. But the group's repertory has broadened to include rarely heard symphonic works of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Munich Radio Orchestra has recorded for Bavarian Radio's own label, BR Klassik, and for a variety of other high-prestige German and Austrian labels including Oehms, CPO, and the opera revival specialist label Preiser. The orchestra's current chief conductor, its ninth, is Croatia's Ivan Repusic, who took up the baton in 2017 after the retirement of Ulf Schirmer.
© James Manheim /TiVo