Orchestral music associated with Munich radio dates back to the 1920s, but the current Munich Radio Orchestra was founded in 1952. Its first music director was Werner Schmidt-Boelke, who built it into an ensemble devoted to the accompaniment of operetta productions over his 15-year tenure. The focus on operetta and opera has continued into the 21st century: the year 2015 saw the orchestra performing on a new recording of Lehár's Giuditta. But the group's repertory has broadened to include rarely heard symphonic works of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Munich Radio Orchestra has recorded for Bavarian Radio's own label, BR Klassik
, and for a variety of other high-prestige German and Austrian labels including Oehms
, and the opera revival specialist label Preiser
. The orchestra's current chief conductor, its ninth, is Croatia's Ivan Repusic
, who took up the baton in 2017 after the retirement of Ulf Schirmer
. ~ James Manheim, Rovi