The SWF - Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden was firstly founded in February 1946, a year after World War II was over. Its main function, from its beginnings, has been, aside from the interpretation of the music of both last centuries, the diffusion of the 20th Century music.
Contemporary Music must determine, through a continuous provocation, the difference with the music of last centuries, only thus is possible, make feel music like something alive, always changing and variable. This is the mission that has taken by this Orchestra as object: more than 250 premiers in the last 45 years are a good evidence of it. Works of classic repertoire from J.S. Bach to Arnold Schoenberg and Igor Stravinsky also appear in their concerts, along with recordings of contemporary works for the radio, the television and in discs are interpreted.
Four titular music directors have determined the style and the universe of the Orchestra, each one of them of way very different in a continuous mixture between music from last times and the present one: Hans Rosbaud (1948-1962), Ernest Bour (1964-1979), Mazimierz Kord (1980-1986) and Michael Gielen (from 1986). Aside from these permanent music directors, the orchestra has also been conducted by others like Ernest Ansermet, Ferenc Fricsay, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Christopher Hogwood, Leopold Stokowski, George Szell and the composers I. Stravinsky, Paul Hindemith, Bruno Maderna and Pierre Boulez, among others.
All of them and many others have contributed to that the SWF-Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden became the instrument that is nowadays: a versatile, polished orchestra, able to offer to the public the music of last the three hundred years as an alive and present cultural event.
The artistic activity of the Orchestra, as much in the field of Classic Music as the Contemporary, has taken it to make concerts in great European cities like: Athens, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt a. Main, Köln, London, Paris, Salzburg, Vienna and Zürich, among others, as well as in the festivals of Festwochen of Berlin, Edinburgh International Festival, Luzerner Festwochen, Festival d'Automne Paris, Autumn of the Prague and the Festival "Musica" of Strasbourg. The Orchestra has also made tours, outside the European continent, ro the USA, South Africa and Japan.
From 1999 the Orchestra is directed by Sylvain Cambreling jointly, as titular music director, as well as Michael Gielen and Hans Zender as invited conductors.