Gulbenkian Orchestra

The Gulbenkian Orchestra (Portuguese: Orquestra Gulbenkian) is a Portuguese symphony orchestra based in Lisbon. The orchestra primarily gives concerts at the Grande Auditório (Grand Auditorium) of the Gulbenkian Foundation. The orchestra, which was founded in 1962 as a chamber orchestra, currently has 66 permanent musicians.


The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation founded the orchestra in 1962 as the Orquestra de Câmara Gulbenkian (Gulbenkian Chamber Orchestra), consisting of 12 musicians. The ensemble subsequently expanded in size and took on its current name in 1971.

The orchestra made its American debut in November 1997 in Newark, New Jersey.[1][2]

Past principal conductors of the orchestra have included Claudio Scimone, Muhai Tang, and Lawrence Foster. In September 2012, the orchestra announced the appointment of Paul McCreesh as its next principal conductor and artistic adviser,[3] with an initial contract of 4 years.[4] McCreesh formally assumed the principal conductorship with the 2013–2014 season, and held the post through 2016.[5] Claudio Scimone, the orchestra's principal conductor from 1979 to 1986, now has the title of Honorary Conductor with the orchestra. Past principal guest conductors have included Joana Carneiro. In May 2013, the orchestra named Susanna Mälkki as its next principal guest conductor, with an initial contract of 3 years, effective July 2013.[6]

In January 2017, Lorenzo Viotti first guest-conducted the orchestra, and returned in the same season for a second guest-conducting appearance. In October 2017, the orchestra announced the appointment of Viotti as its next music director, effective with the 2018-2019 season, with an initial contract of 3 seasons.[7]

Principal conductorsEdit

  • Lamberto Baldi (1962–1963)
  • Urs Voegelin (1963–1964)
  • Renato Ruotolo (1964–1965)
  • Trajan Popesco (1965–1966)
  • Adrian Sunshine (1966–1967)
  • Gianfranco Rivoli (1967–1971)
  • Werner Andreas Albert (1971–1973)
  • Michael Tabachnik (1973–1976)
  • Juan Pablo Izquierdo (1976–1979)
  • Claudio Scimone (1979–1986)
  • Muhai Tang (1988–2001)
  • Lawrence Foster (2002–2013)
  • Paul McCreesh (2013–2016)
  • Lorenzo Viotti (2018–)


The orchestra has commercially recorded for several labels, including Teldec[8] and Virgin Classics.[9]


  1. ^ "New Jersey Arts Center Names Its First Performers". The New York Times. 1997-02-25. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
  2. ^ "6 Days to Curtain: An Arts Center's Debut; The Inaugural Season". The New York Times. 1997-10-12. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
  3. ^ "Semibreves: Orquestra Gulbenkian – Paul McCreesh appointed Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser" (Press release). Gulbenkian Orchestra. 14 September 2012. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  4. ^ "Paul McCreesh named Gulbenkian Orchestra principal conductor and artistic advisor". Gramophone. 2012-09-14. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
  5. ^ "Orquestra Gulbenkian despede-se de Paul McCreesh e da temporada com obra de Elgar". Diário de Notícias. 2017-05-25. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  6. ^ "Susanna Mälkki Appointed Principal Guest Conductor of Orquestra Gulbenkian" (Press release). Gulbenkian Música. 29 May 2013. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  7. ^ "Lorenzo Viotti appointed Music Director of the Gulbenkian Orchestra" (Press release). Gulbenkian Orchestra. 13 October 2017. Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  8. ^ Paul Griffiths (2001-06-10). "For a New Line of CD's, a Future Already Clouded". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
  9. ^ Andrew Clements (2003-08-29). "Suppé: Requiem: Chorus & Orchestra of the Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon/ Corboz". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-02-07.

External linksEdit