The WDR Sinfonieorchester is one of the most outstanding orchestras in Germany, with a strong presence in its own region as well as a national and international reputation. Cristian Măcelaru was appointed Chief Conductor of the orchestra in the autumn of 2019.
The WDR Sinfonieorchester not only has its own concert series in the Cologne Philharmonie and partnerships with the major concert halls and festivals in the region but it is also a regular guest in Dresden, Salzburg, Vienna, Hamburg, at the Rheingau Musik Festival and the Grafenegg Festival. The orchestra has undertaken many tours in Asia and Europe, most recently the BBC Proms in London and the newly-founded Carl Nielsen Festival in Odense (Denmark).
Cristian Măcelaru is the latest in a long tradition of important principal conductors of the WDR Sinfonieorchester, these including Christoph von Dohnányi, Gary Bertini, Semyon Bychkov and Jukka-Pekka Saraste.
The WDR Sinfonieorchester’s appearances in concert are complemented by a growing catalogue: its recording of the Shostakovich Cello Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 with Alban Gerhardt received the coveted International Classical Music Award in 2021. The orchestra’s participation in the complete recording of Christophe Bertrand’s instrumental works was rewarded with the recording being awarded the annual prize granted by German record critics for contemporary music that same year.
The WDR Sinfonieorchester is often featured in television broadcasts, live streams and on the radio; it is also involved with education projects such as the Konzert mit der Maus and with concerts for schools as well as innovative formats beyond the traditional concert environment. The orchestra has recently developed a number of successful offerings in the digital world: its highly innovative use of virtual fantasy worlds in the music video Traumwandler met with great success at its launch online at the start of 2022.