Although it does not have the long history of other European orchestras, the Orchestre de Paris has attracted top talent and played a major role in the cultural life of the French capital since its founding in 1967.
The orchestra also has an associated choir, the Chœur de l'Orchestre de Paris, that was established in 1976 and has been highly regarded. The Orchestre de Paris was founded after the demise of the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, which dated back to 1828 but had encountered financial difficulties. One of that group's former conductors, Charles Munch, held the auditions for the new orchestra and employed 50 members of the older group; the majority of its members, however, were new, and the orchestra owed its high quality from the start to the stature of Munch, who died in 1968 and was succeeded, as musical advisor rather than as permanent music director, by Herbert von Karajan. Concerts during the orchestra's first several years of existence featured top guest soloists such as Mstislav Rostropovich. The following music directors were of uniformly prestigious stature, including Georg Solti (1972-1975), Daniel Barenboim (1975-1989), Semyon Bychkov (1989-1998), Christoph von Dohnányi (1998-2000, another artistic advisor), Christoph Eschenbach (2000-2010), Paavo Järvi (2010-2016), and Daniel Harding (2016-2019). Principal guest conductor since 2016 has been Thomas Hengelbrock. The orchestra's concert life has been centered in Paris, but its headquarters have moved several times over its comparatively short existence. The orchestra's concerts took place for many years at the venerable Salle Pleyel hall, which was sold in 1998 and finally mothballed in 2002. For several years the orchestra moved among the Théâtre du Chatelet, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, and, briefly, the renovated Salle Pleyel. In 2015 the orchestra moved into the new Philharmonie de Paris and has become its resident ensemble. The Orchestre de Paris has had a long recording career, including a 1982 recording of Ravel's Boléro that made the pop charts in the Netherlands. The group has recorded mostly for Deutsche Grammophon, Philips, Erato, Warner Classics, and Harmonia Mundi, for which it participated in a recording of Stravinsky's L'histoire du soldat in 2018.