Het Gelders Orkest (= HGO, The Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra) plays more than one hundred symphonic concerts per season. The performances take place mainly in the province of Gelderland, in cities like Arnhem, Nijmegen, Apeldoorn, Zutphen, Doetinchem and Ede. The orchestra also appears in various major Dutch venues like the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Muziekcentrum Vredenburg in Utrecht and De Doelen in Rotterdam, and also abroad. In collaboration with the Nationale Reisopera, the orchestra performs one opera every year and accompanies several choirs in the region.
Between 1950 and 1998 chief conductors, Jan Out, Carl von Caraguly, Leo Driehuys, Yoav Talmi, Guido Ajmone-Marsan and Roberto Benzi, made significant contributions to the artistic development of the Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra. Lawrence Renes was appointed chief conductor and artistic adviser in 1998. Under his leadership the orchestra has earned a reputation with commanding performances of the great symphonies by Bruckner and Gustav Mahler, as well as works of Wagner. Having been appointed Generalmusikdirektor of the Bremer Philharmonic and Bremer opera, Lawrence Renes resigned as chief conductor in 2003.
Situated in Arnhem, the orchestra and its 90 musicians gives some 110 symphonic concerts per season. The performances take place mainly in the province of Gelderland, in Amsterdam (Concertgebouw), in Rotterdam (De Doelen), in Utrecht (Vredenburg Music Centre) and abroad. In addition, in collaboration with the National Touring Opera, the Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra performs an annual opera and accompanies various regional choirs.
Starting with the 2003-2004 season, Martin Sieghart has taken over as the chief conductor and artistic adviser of the Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra. He studied cello, piano and musical direction at the Music Academy in his place of birth, Vienna. In 1975, he was named solo cellist of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. He conducted this orchestra in 1986 for the first time, which marked the beginning of his career as a conductor. Before 2003, Martin Sieghart has regularly conducted the Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra with huge success.
For the 2002-2003 season, Nikolai Alexeev has been appointed principal guest conductor. This Russian conductor, who succeeded Mariss Jansons at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, is also a principal guest conductor of the Bolsjoi Theatre in Moscow. Since his appointment in St. Petersburg, his international career gained momentum and he frequently performs in Western Europe.
Other conductors who have regularly made guest appearances with HGO include Bernard Klee, Hans Vonk, Jaap van Zweden, Roy Goodman, Joop Schets and Reinbert de Leeuw. Soloists such as Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Leif Ove Andsnes, Zoltán Kocsis, Nicolai Znaider, Akiko Suwanai, Ilya Gringolts, Natalia Gutman, Pieter Wispelwey, Christian Lindberg and Radovan Vlatkovic also favour performing with the Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra.
Next to the symphonic repertoire, The Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra can also be heard every season in crossover concerts with the likes of Circle Percussion, Carel Kraaijenhof and Herman van Veen as guests. The orchestra also provides the opportunity for young talent to gain concert experience, and educational concerts are frequently given for elementary and high school students as well as for other target groups like the mentally handicapped. The Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra regularly records CDs for the Japanese label Exton. Several high-profile CD recordings have also been made of works by Igor Markevitch, which were nominated for a Grammy Award.
The main sponsor of the orchestra is Teijin Twaron.