Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne (= OCL; Lausanne Chamber Orchestra) has evolved from what was once a string ensemble, founded in 1940 at the initiative of its first conductor Victor Desarzens for the Swiss Radio Romande. Their first public concert, held in 1942, marks the beginning of the orchestra's rich and varied activity which soon reached across the confines of Vaud.
From the very start, the orchestra was conducted by the greatest conductors of the time: Ferenc Friesay, Ernst Bour, Otto Ackerman, Ernest Ansermet, Günter Wand, Andre Clytens, Witold Rowicki, Lovro Matacic, and composers Frank Martin and Paul Hindemith. The year 1949 saw their debut performance abroad, at the music festival in Aix-de-Provence. Jesús López-Cobos also served from 1990 to 2000 as Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne.
The orchestra has forty-two members; its Mannheim formation, as it is known, was employed by Mozart in his last symphonies.