The impressive, international prominence of orchestras associated with Germany's regional radio broadcasters is indicated by the existence of the similarly named NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (German: NDR Radiophilharmonie) and NDR Symphony Orchestra (Sinfonieorchester des Norddeutschen Rundfunks), with both groups achieving international prominence.
The NDR Radio Philharmonic is based in the city of Hannover (the NDR Symphony in Hamburg). It dates back to the 1920s in the form of the Niedersächsicher Sinfonie-Orchester and assumed its present form as the Rundfunkorchester Hannover (Hannover Radio Orchestra) in 1950. The group later used the name Radiophilharmonie Hannover; it assumed its current name in 2003. The orchestra's concert home base is the Großer Sendesaal (Great Broadcast Room) of the Lower Saxony Radio Building. The first conductor of the Rundfunkorchester Hannover was Willy Steiner, who held the post until 1975; subsequent chief conductors have been Bernhard Klee, Eiji Öue, and Eivind Gullberg Jensen. British Baroque violinist-turned-conductor Andrew Manze became chief conductor in 2014.
Part of the reputation of the NDR Philharmonic rests on its large and growing recording catalog. Mostly recording for Germany's CPO label, the group has specialized in symphonies by neglected composers of the 19th and 20th centuries. These have included Ernst Krenek, Louise Farrenc, Georges Onslow, Felix Draeseke, Friedrich Ernst Fesca, Josef Tal, Paul Wranitzky, Heinrich von Herzogenberg, Josef Suder, August Enna, Julius Röntgen, Paul Ben-Haim, Paul Graener, Gustav Kerker, Herbert Baumann, and Louis Spohr, whose complete cycle of ten symphonies was recorded by the Philharmonic under the baton of Howard Griffiths. These have not been accomplished to the exclusion of better-known repertoire; the orchestra has recorded a cycle of Mendelssohn symphonies for the Dutch audiophile label PentaTone. Most of these composers have been represented by more than one album; a second recording of German-Israeli composer Paul Ben-Haim appeared in 2017, followed the next year by the final installment in the orchestra's Manze Mendelssohn set.
© James Manheim /TiVo