It was immediately ranked as one of the world's great orchestras, famous for its precise, lean sound, even though the players had to do routine radio work in addition to symphony concerts. For 17 years it was conducted by many leading world-class conductors; Leopold Stokowski
was its co-conductor from 1941 to 1944. It made numerous classic recordings for RCA, sometimes recording as the "RCA Victor Symphony," including the famous recording of Richard Rodgers
' Victory at Sea.
retired after his April 4, 1954, concert. NBC laid the orchestra off, but it refused to die. Most of its members (with a few new players) reassembled as the Symphony of the Air
, which went on to its own distinguished, if brief, renown.