From its foundation in 1948 as the Radio Éireann Symphony Orchestra - the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra has been at the forefront of symphonic music in Ireland providing an unbroken stream of concerts. Since that time, the orchestra has firmly established itself as a primary force in Irish musical life. World-class conductors associated with the orchestra’s early days include Jean Martinon, Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, Edmond Appia, Milan Horvat and Sir John Barbirolli. The first half of the 1960s saw Tibor Paul as Principal Conductor, a tenure memorable for the visit of Igor Stravinsky.
Today, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra plays a central role in classical music in Ireland through year-long programmes of live performances, schools and educational projects, broadcasts on RTÉ lyric fm and internationally through the European Broadcasting Union, recordings and new commissions.
The orchestra has been critically acclaimed for its recordings across a variety of labels including Naxos, Claves as well as the RTÉ lyric fm label. Naxos releases include two critically acclaimed recordings of works by Bizet and Dukas with conductor Jean-Luc Tingaud. Recordings on the RTÉ lyric fm label include selected orchestral works by Aloys Fleischmann, Frederick May and Seán Ó Riada, Gerald Barry’s opera The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, Finghin Collins: Mozart Piano Concertos and Celine Byrne: For Eternity.