As the first music director, Ferenc Fricsay defined the standards in terms of repertoire, acoustic ideal and media presence. In 1964, the young Lorin Maazel assumed artistic responsibility. In 1982, he was followed by Riccardo Chailly and in 1989 by Vladimir Askenazy. Kent Nagano was appointed music director in 2000. Since his departure in 2006, he has been associated with the orchestra as an honorary conductor.
From 2007 to 2010, as the successor to Nagano, Ingo Metzmacher set decisive accents in the concert life of the capital with progressive programmes and consistent commitment to the music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since September 2012, the North Ossetian Tugan Sokhiev has been music director of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; his successor Robin Ticciati took on this position starting with the season of 2017-18.