The Vienna RSO was formed in 1969 from the ORF Symphony Orchestra, a postwar ensemble largely devoted to contemporary music. The new ensemble retained the name of the parent orchestra and its management appointed the first chief conductor, Milan Horvat (1969-1975), who largely retained the policy of promoting music of contemporary Austrian composers and works by Schoenberg
, and Webern
With the ascension of Leif Segerstam
as chief conductor in 1975, the Vienna RSO, while retaining a strong allegiance to 20th century music, began to focus attention on Classical and Romantic works, as well. This tendency was expanded further when Lothar Zagrosek
(1982-1986) succeeded Segerstam
often played rarely encountered Classical works.
Pinchas Steinberg served as chief conductor from 1989-1996. It was in the latter year that the ensemble adopted its current name, ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. More importantly, the management also appointed American Dennis Russell Davies
the new chief conductor. Davies
made numerous recordings with the orchestra, almost all focusing on modern or contemporary works by the likes of Berio
, Kancheli, Silvestrov
, and Tüür
Bertrand de Billy
in 2002. He was even more active in the recording studio, with well over 20 recordings to his credit, recordings that covered broader repertory, including many standards by Haydn
, and more. In the latter years of his tenure de Billy
had disputes with orchestra management that led to his decision to step down. In 2009 the orchestra's management announced that Cornelius Meister would succeed Davies
in 2010, his tenure scheduled to run through at least 2014.