Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich

Coordinates: 47°21′58″N 8°32′16″E / 47.366025°N 8.537650°E / 47.366025; 8.537650

The Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich is a Swiss symphony orchestra based in Zürich. Its principal residence is the Tonhalle concert hall.

Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich
Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich.svg
Official logo
LocationZürich, Switzerland
Principal conductorPaavo Järvi

Early history prior to the orchestraEdit

Precursor music ensembles in Zürich have included the music societies Zum Chorherresaal (around 1600), Ab dem Musiksaal beim Kornhaus (1613), and Zum Fraumünster (1679). In 1812, these ensembles consolidated into a single organization with the name Allgemeine Musik-Gesellschaft (AMG), which included the formation of an orchestra who performed on an annual, seasonal and non-permanent basis. In the early history of the AMG orchestra, its first principal conductors were Casimir von Blumenthal (1821–1846) and Franz Abt (1846–1852). The impetus for the establishment of a permanent orchestra in Zürich came in 1861, with the Schweizerische Musikfest (Swiss Music Festival) scheduled in Zürich that year. Citizens in Zürich wished the musicians to remain after the festival, but the AMG did not have the financial resources to establish a permanent resident orchestra. Subsequently, a group of Zürich citizens founded the Orchesterverein in 1865 as the city's first permanent orchestra. The founding of the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich followed several years later, in 1868. Both ensembles continue to perform in Zürich today.

Orchestra historyEdit

The Tonhalle-Orchester with conductor Friedrich Hegar, ca. 1900

The first principal conductor of the Tonhalle-Orchester was Friedrich Hegar, who served from its founding in 1868 through 1906. His successor, Volkmar Andreae, served an even longer tenure as chief conductor, from 1906 to 1949, the longest in the orchestra's history, directing around 1,300 concerts with the orchestra. Andreae's tenure featured the first family concerts by the orchestra, beginning in 1928. In 1947, the city of Zürich formalised performances of concerts for young people by the orchestra, as part of the agreements for city funding and subsidy of the orchestra. More recently, during the chief conductorship of David Zinman, the orchestra established its "tonhalleLATE" series of late-evening concerts that combine shorter-length symphonic concerts with socializing afterwards to electronic music.

In the interregnum between the chief conductorships of Hiroshi Wakasugi and David Zinman, Claus Peter Flor served as principal guest conductor from 1991 to 1995. Zinman became chief conductor in 1995, and remained in the post until July 2014, the orchestra's longest serving chief conductor since Andreae. The orchestra made its debut at The Proms in September 2003 with Zinman,[1] and his final concert as chief conductor was a July 2014 Proms appearance.[2] During his tenure, Zinman introduced elements of historically informed performance into the orchestra's playing style and greatly expanded their recording presence.

In October 2012, the orchestra named Lionel Bringuier as its next chief conductor, as of the 2014–2015 season, with an initial contract of four years.[3][4] Concurrent with the advent of Bringuier as chief conductor in the 2014–2015 season, Esa-Pekka Salonen began his tenure in the newly created post of Creative Chair of the orchestra.[5] In August 2016, the orchestra announced that Bringuier is to conclude his Tonhalle tenure at the end of his current contract, at the end of the 2017–2018 season.[6]

In May 2017, the orchestra announced the appointment of Paavo Järvi as its next chief conductor, effective with the 2019–2020 season, with an initial contract of five years. Järvi had first guest-conducted the Tonhalle Orchestra in 2009, and returned in December 2016.[7] In December 2022, the orchestra announced an extension of Järvi's contract as its chief conductor through the 2028–2029 season. The current Intendantin (executive and artistic director) of the orchestra is Ilona Schmiel, currently contracted to the orchestra through the 2028–2029 season.[8]


The orchestra and Andreae made a small number of recordings in the late 1920s, of music of Vivaldi and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In 1947, Franz Lehár recorded a number of 78-rpm discs of his music with the orchestra for Decca Records. The discs were issued in the U.S. by London Records, initially in the 78-rpm format and then on LPs. Some of the recordings are now available through Naxos Records on CD. The orchestra's recording profile has expanded most prominently during the tenure of Zinman, with many recordings for such labels as Arte Nova[9][10][11][12] and RCA.[13][14][15] In particular, his recordings for Arte Nova of the complete Beethoven symphonies achieved notable renown, as one of the earliest recorded cycles to use the new Jonathan Del Mar edition of the symphonies, with observation of Beethoven's metronome markings.[16]

Chief conductorsEdit

Creative chairsEdit


  1. ^ Erica Jeal (13 September 2013). "Musiciens du Louvre; Tonhalle Orchestra". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  2. ^ Tim Ashley (22 July 2014). "Prom 5: Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich review – sadness and celebration". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  3. ^ "Neue Leitung ab Saison 2014/2015" (PDF) (Press release). Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. November 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  4. ^ "Lionel Bringuier appointed Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich principal conductor". Gramophone. 31 October 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  5. ^ Mark Swed (20 September 2014). "L.A. Phil alum Lionel Bringuier wows in Zurich". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  6. ^ Christian Wildhagen (17 August 2016). "Ein Schlussstrich zur rechten Zeit". Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Neuer Chefdirigent und Künstlerischer Leiter des Tonhalle-Orchesters Zürich ab 2019/20" (PDF) (Press release). Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. 30 May 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 June 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  8. ^ "Die Reise geht weiter bis 2029" (Press release). Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. 7 December 2022. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
  9. ^ Edward Greenfield (13 September 2002). "Strauss: Alpine Symphony; Festival Prelude: Zurich Tonhalle Orch/Zinman". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  10. ^ Edward Greenfield (14 January 2005). "Beethoven: Complete Overtures, Zurich Tonhalle Orch/ Zinman". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  11. ^ Andrew Clements (28 April 2006). "Beethoven: Violin Concerto; Two Romances, Tetzlaff/ZTO/Zinman". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  12. ^ Andrew Clements (23 April 2014). "Schumann: Symphonies Nos 1–4: Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich/ Zinman". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  13. ^ Andrew Clements (5 October 2007). "Mahler: Symphony No 3; Rennert/Swiss Chamber Choir/Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra/Zinman". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  14. ^ Tim Ashley (11 September 2009). "Mahler, Symphony No 7: Zurich Tonhalle/Zinman". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  15. ^ Nicholas Kenyon (5 February 2011). "Mahler/Carpenter: Symphony No 10, Tonhalle Orchestra/Zinman – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  16. ^ John Allison (20 July 2014). "Proms 2014: David Zinman bows out". Telegraph. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  17. ^ Schacher, Thomas (11 April 2019). "Paavo Järvi in Zürich: Der Steuermann geht an Bord". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). Zürich. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  18. ^ "Arvo Pärt – Creative Chair 2020/21 – Entdecken". Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich (in German). Retrieved 1 July 2020.

External linksEdit