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Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz

The Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz (the German State Philharmonic Orchestra of Rheinland-Palatinate), also known as the Rheinland-Pfalz Staatsphilharmonie, is a regional orchestra, based in the city of Ludwigshafen and serving several states along Germany's Rhine River. Funded by the Rhineland-Palatinate state, the orchestra has a long history and has served as a training ground for several conductors who have gone on to international careers. The Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz was founded in 1919. From the beginning it attracted attention beyond its home region; Richard Strauss conducted on occasion, as did the international traveler and liberal-turned-Nazi Hermann Abendroth. The orchestra's first music director, for a short time, was Ludwig Rüth, followed by Ernest Boehe, who remained at the helm for 18 years. A succession of music directors followed during and after World War II, and the orchestra's climb back to international prominence began in 1978 with the ascent to the podium of the young Christoph Eschenbach, later conductor of the Houston Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Another notable tenure was that of Leif Segerstam, from 1983 to 1990. In 2009 Karl-Heinz Steffens assumed the music directorship; he has brought the orchestra honors including an ECHO Award as Orchestra of the Year in 2015, and he gained wide attention for a multi-year "Beethoven and the 20th Century" concert cycle. Steffens has also been a champion of contemporary music. The orchestra has a long history on recordings, but he has also brought its most sustained effort in recent years: a multi-disc recording contract with the Capriccio label that has surveyed a wide range of 20th century music. That series began in 2014 with the award-winning Modern Times, an album of music by Bernd Alois Zimmermann, and continued with recordings devoted to figures as diverse as Henri Dutilleux and Nino Rota. The year 2017 brought three distinctive and varied recordings: a collection of lesser-known orchestral works by Ralph Vaughan Williams, a rare European recording of works by George Antheil (including A Jazz Symphony), and, for the Naxos label, a recording of the complete Dmitry Shostakovich score to the 1955 film The Gadfly.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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