The Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra owes its existence to the American military government that occupied post-war Stuttgart in 1945. Requiring an orchestra for Radio Stuttgart, the temporary government gave birth to what would quickly become one of the finest ensembles in Germany, hosting such conductors as Barbirolli, Böhm, Leinsdorf, Stokowski, and Furtwängler. The group's reputation was solidified in 1971 with the appointment of the legendary Sergiu Celibidache as chief conductor, and has continued to grow in more recent years under the guidance of Sir Neville Marriner and Gianluigi Gelmetti.
The SRSO has specialized in the performance of new works, as well as early repertoire. In its early years, it performed works by Stravinsky, Hindemith, Krenek, and Dallapicolla, and has continued to program works by Henze, Penderecki, Berio and Eotvos. Early music recordings include several Bach cantatas, as well as baroque keyboard concertos and violin concertos-a tradition that will no doubt continue under the leadership of Sir Roger Norrington, appointed chief conductor in 1998.
A busy concert schedule and numerous recordings help to maintain the SRSO's presence on the international music scene. Of course, as a "media orchestra", they also continue to produce concerts and events for radio, television, and mixed media.