The WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne was inaugurated in 1947 under the auspices of the regional broadcaster Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk (NWDR). Named after NWDR’s successor Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), the “WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln” owes its outstanding reputation to its cooperation with chief conductors Christoph von Dohnányi, Zdenek Macal, Hiroshi Wakasugi, Gary Bertini, Hans Vonk and Semyon Bychkov. In addition to cultivating the Classic Romantic concert repertoire, the orchestra made its name above all from its interpretation of 20th century music. Luciano Berio, Hans Werner Henze, Mauricio Kagel, Krzysztof Penderecki, Igor Stravinsky, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Bernd Alois Zimmermann are among the contemporary composers whose works – many commissioned by WDR – have been performed by the Cologne-based symphony orchestra. Cristian Măcelaru succeeds Jukka-Pekka Saraste as chief conductor from season 2019/2020 on.