L’Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana (Orchestra of Italian Switzerland) (= OSI) exists in its current form from 1991. Previously, under the name of Orchestra della Radiotelevisione della Svizzera Italiana (= RSI), it was founded officially in Lugano in 1935.
Among the illustrious personalities that directed the OSI are especially remembered: Pietro Mascagni in 1938, Arthur Honegger in 1947, and Richard Strauss, who composed for the RSI Orchestra his Duett-Concertino in F major Op. 147. Other composers who directed their works with the OSI were Wolf-Ferrari, Milhaud, Paul Hindemith, Martin, Luciano Berio, Henze and Igor Stravinsky. The OSI has had a determining role in the creation and the increase of the Settimane Musicali of Ascona, the Concerti of Lugano and the Primavera Concertistica of Lugano, where it has been directed by conductors as Ernest Ansermet, Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, Igor Markevitch, André Cluytens, Paul Paray, Pierre Monteux, Carl Schuricht, Sergiu Celibidache, Rafael Kubelík, Hermann Scherchen, Inbal, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Klecki, Riccardo Chailly, Ahronovitch, Frans Brüggen and others.
From its foundation, the centre of activities of the OSI has changed several times. From 1993 to 1996 the OSI’s Musical Director was Nicholas Carthy; from 1997 to 2000 the Musical Director was Serge Baudo; currently it is directed by Alain Lombard.