The Süddeutsche Zeitung puts it in a nutshell: "You have to have experienced the Basel Symphony Orchestra with its principal conductor Ivor Bolton once, then you know what this fabulous orchestra is capable of". In its own concert series, at the Theater Basel as well as in guest performances at home and abroad, the innovative orchestra proves its high sound culture time and again. Emerging from the merger of the Basel Symphony Orchestra and the Basel Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Basel Symphony Orchestra has developed into one of the top orchestras in Switzerland within a short time. Since 2016 the Englishman Ivor Bolton has been principal conductor of the Basel Symphony Orchestra, which has been playing the core symphonic repertoire of the 19th century. and 20. The ensemble cultivates a historically informed approach to interpretation, but also performs classical modern music and world premieres by contemporary composers.
Among the conductors closely associated with the Basel Symphony Orchestra are names such as Johannes Brahms, Felix Weingartner, Gustav Mahler, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Gary Bertini, Armin Jordan, Horst Stein, Otto Klemperer, Nello Santi and Pierre Boulez.
In recent years, the Basel Symphony Orchestra has also been showing an increasing international presence, with UK tours in 2014, 2015 and 2017, the 'Far East Tour' in spring 2015, a European tour with David Garrett in March 2017, a tour of Germany with Jonas Kaufmann in January 2019 and, to mark Beethoven's anniversary, the 'Prometheus Tour' with Peter Simonischek in spring 2020. Numerous CD recordings have also contributed to the symphony orchestra's international reputation, most recently a three-part cycle with works by Gabriel Fauré and a highly praised recording of arrangements by Luciano Berio.
The Sinfonieorchester Basel is the residence orchestra of the Stadtcasino Basel and performs all subscription concerts as well as extra concerts in the historic hall with its phenomenal acoustics.
With the reopening of the Stadtcasino, the music city of Basel is getting back its unique sound jewel. After an intensive renovation phase, the Basel Symphony Orchestra, as the orchestra in residence at the Stadtcasino, celebrated its return in August 2020 to the music hall, which was completed in 1876 according to the plans of Basel architect Johann Jakob Stehlin. The historic music hall is acoustically one of the best concert halls in the world. The prominent architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron, who are headquartered in Basel and have already designed several famous buildings and concert halls, most recently the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, was commissioned with the extension of the Stadtcasino. Without interfering with the basic substance, they have brought the music hall up to the latest technical standard (including a new ventilation system). A post-modern foyer with inviting chatting niches has been newly created: the walls are covered with dark red brocade wallpaper, as it was used in the Parisian Garnier Opera during the construction of the music hall - the ceilings are lined with silver metal. Magnificent, curved forms lead to the heart of the house - the music hall. The acoustician Karlheinz Müller has brilliantly polished up the "fresh acoustics" already praised by Herbert von Karajan. With a balance between fundamental and overtones, it makes the timbres more transparent and at the same time reinforces the auditory impression of "being enveloped by the sound". The program of the official opening concert from 26. August 2020 was all about the new opening and the impression of a new musical world forming after the Corona lockdown.