The OBC (Barcelona Symphony Orchestra - the National Orchestra of Catalonia) was founded in 1944 under the direction of Maestro Eduard Toldrà. Rafael Ferrer took over from the latter in 1962 until 1967. Music Directors of the orchestra have also included Maestros Antoni Ros Marbà (1967-1978, 1981-1986), Salvador Mas (1978-1981), Franz-Paul Decker (1986-1991), García Navarro (1991-1993), Lawrence Foster (1996-2002), Ernest Martinez Izquierdo (2002-2006) and Eiji Oue (2006-2010). Pablo González took over as Music Director in September 2010, opening a new era of the OBC.
Throughout its over 66 years of history, the OBC has programmed numerous new productions and recorded several albums with Decca, EMI, Auvidis, Koch, Claves, Naxos, Telarc and BIS labels, among others, featuring works by Montsalvatge, Gerhard, Falla, D’Albert, Albéniz, Donhány, Bartók, Bizet, Rodrigo, performed by several top international artists. In September 2000, the OBC won the Latin Grammy Award to the Best Classical Album for La Dolores CD, in 2004 for Carmen Symphony CD and in 2006 for the CD with Michel Camilo Rhapsody in blue produced by TELARC. At the same time, the OBC has kept a tight artistic schedule abroad, with tours around Europe, Asia and USA. Tours included performances at some of the world’s major concert halls, such as New York’s Carnegie Hall, as well as at international festivals such as the Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
The OBC has also enjoyed collaborations with some of the most renowned conductors and soloists worldwide, including names such as Elihau Inbal, Jesús López Cobos, Daniel Barenboim, Christopher Hogwood, Ton Koopman, Michel Plasson, Emmanuel Krivine, Leonard Slatkin, Dmitri Kitajenko, Giovanni Antonini, Yakov Kreizberg, Stéphane Denève, Josep Pons, Marc Minkowski, Radu Lupu, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Shlomo Mintz, Arcadi Volodos, Montserrat Caballé, Alicia de Larrocha, Misha Maisky, Pinchas Zukerman, Martha Argerich, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Michel Camilo, Ute Lemper, Gidon Kremer, Truls Mörk, Sarah Chang, Viktoria Mullova, Violeta Urmana, Nicholas Angelich, Till Fellner, Vadim Repin and many others.
The OBC is committed to the promotion of classical and contemporary music of all cultures, giving special attention to Catalan composers. At the same time, the OBC participates in several activities promoted by L’Auditori’s Education Department.
The OBC is part of the Consorci de l’Auditori i l’Orquestra, formed by the Generalitat of Catalonia and Barcelona City Council. Since April 1999, the OBC performs in its own venue, the L'Auditori of Barcelona, designed by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo.
© Assumpta Burgués
Oratorio by Arthur Honegger, text by Paul Claudel