Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (OSR)
Official logo
Founded1918; 106 years ago (1918)
LocationGeneva, Switzerland
Concert hallVictoria Hall
Principal conductorJonathan Nott
WebsiteOfficial website

The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (OSR[1]) is a Swiss symphony orchestra, based in Geneva at the Victoria Hall. In addition to symphony concerts, the OSR performs as the opera orchestra in productions at the Grand Théâtre de Genève.


Ernest Ansermet founded the OSR in 1918, together with Paul Lachenal,[2] with a contingent of 48 players and a season of six months' duration. Besides Swiss musicians, the OSR players initially came from other countries, including Austria, France, Germany and Italy. Ansermet gradually increased the percentage of Swiss musicians in the orchestra, attaining 80% Swiss personnel by 1946.[3] He remained the music director of the OSR for 49 years, from 1918 to 1967.

A Swiss radio orchestra based in Lausanne was merged into the OSR in 1938. Subsequently, the OSR began to broadcast radio concerts regularly on Swiss radio.[3] The orchestra had a long-standing contract for recordings with Decca Records, dating from the tenure of Ansermet, and made over 300 recordings for Decca, starting in 1947 with Debussy's La mer.[4] The OSR premiered many works of the Swiss composers Arthur Honegger and Frank Martin. During the directorship of Armin Jordan (1985–1997), the OSR continued to make recordings on the Erato label.[5]

From 2005 to 2012, Marek Janowski was the artistic director and music director of the OSR. He conducted the OSR in recordings for the Pentatone label.[6][7] In September 2008, his initial 5-year contract had been extended to 2015,[8] but in January 2010, in a change to the September 2008 contract extension, Janowski and the OSR mutually agreed on the scheduled conclusion of his directorship of the OSR after the 2011–12 season.[9]

Following the announcement of Janowski's scheduled 2012 departure, attempts to secure Bertrand de Billy[10] and Kazuki Yamada[11] as the OSR's next artistic leader did not come to fruition. In September 2010, the OSR named Neeme Järvi as its ninth artistic and musical director, and in parallel, Yamada as principal guest conductor, with both appointments effective as of 2012, with initial contracts of 3 years for both conductors.[12] Järvi has commercially recorded with the OSR for the Chandos label.[13] He concluded his OSR directorship after the 2014–2015 season.

Jonathan Nott first guest-conducted the OSR in October 2014. Following these concert appearances, in January 2015, the OSR named Nott its next music and artistic director, effective January 2017.[14][15][16] The OSR formalised the new contract and relationship with Nott in March 2016.[17][18] In February 2021, the OSR announced the conversion of Nott's OSR contract into an evergreen, open-ended lifetime agreement with no set final date.[19]

There is an anecdotal fact taken from recording notes by Roy Wallace that the orchestra's bass drum in their "golden age" of recording had the largest circumference in the world.

In 2023, Pierluigi Christophe Orunesu's company Cyber'Art developed the Iconogram app, a digital startup enabling virtual artist presence, and collaborated with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande to record the first holographic symphonic performance presented at Artgenève 2024.[20][21][22]

Artistic and musical directors


  1. ^ The literal translation reads "Orchestra of French-speaking Switzerland".
  2. ^ Piguet, Martine. "Lachenal, Paul". HLS-DHS-DSS.CH (in French). Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b Potts, Joseph E. (November 1955). "European Radio Orchestras. III". The Musical Times. 96 (1353): 584–586. doi:10.2307/937470. JSTOR 937470.
  4. ^ Gutman, David (November 1992). "Historic Recordings". Gramophone. 96: 206. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
  5. ^ Richard Freed (22 October 1989). "A New Leader Carries On An Orchestra's Tradition". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  6. ^ Geoffrey Norris (10 January 2008). "L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande: Swiss orchestra seeking a role". Telegraph. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
  7. ^ Ivan Hewett (23 April 2010). "Bruckner: Symphony No 5, CD review". Telegraph. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  8. ^ "L'Orchestre de la Suisse romande conforte son avenir et offre un CD à tous les Genevois". Tribune de Genève, 5 September 2009.
  9. ^ Sylvie Bonier, "Marek Janowski quittera l'OSR en 2012". Tribune de Genève, 21 January 2010.
  10. ^ Sylvie Bonier, "Bertrand de Billy ne viendra pas à l'OSR". Tribune de Genève. 26 January 2010.
  11. ^ Sylvie Bonier, "Le jeune Kazuki Yamada est proposé pour diriger l'OSR". Tribune de Genève, 18 June 2010.
  12. ^ Sylvie Bonier, "Surprise à l'OSR: Neeme Järvi sera le prochain chef". Tribune de Genève, 22 September 2010.
  13. ^ Andrew Clements (21 February 2013). "Raff: Symphony No 2; Four Shakespeare Preludes – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  14. ^ "Welcome to Jonathan Nott, New Music and Artistic Director of the OSR" (Press release). L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. 28 January 2015. Archived from the original on 12 March 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  15. ^ Rocco Zacheo (28 January 2015). "Jonathan Nott reprend la direction musicale de l'OSR". Tribune de Genève. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  16. ^ Rocco Zacheo (28 January 2015). "Un nouvel homme fort pour l'OSR". Tribune de Genève. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  17. ^ Rocco Zacheo (26 February 2016). "Un document secret agite les eaux de l'OSR". Tribune de Genève. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  18. ^ Rocco Zacheo (10 March 2016). "Jonathan Nott signe enfin avec l'OSR". Tribune de Genève. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  19. ^ "L'OSR et Maestro Jonathan Nott renouvellent leur collaboration!" (Press release). Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. 22 February 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  20. ^ "Musique d'avenir – L'OSR se donne une nouvelle vie en hologramme". Tribune de Genève (in French). 18 December 2023. Retrieved 20 May 2024.
  21. ^ "A Genève, l'OSR léger comme un hologramme - Le Temps" (in French). 25 January 2024. ISSN 1423-3967. Retrieved 20 May 2024.
  22. ^ Gault, Philippe (18 December 2023). "Concert virtuel : Le premier orchestre en hologramme dévoile ses accords au salon Artgenève 2024 !". Radio Classique (in French). Retrieved 20 May 2024.