The violinist and conductor Victor Desarzens founded the orchestra in 1942, and served as its first artistic director for 30 years. Noted guest conductors with the orchestra included Otto Ackermann, Ernest Ansermet, and Ernst Bour, as well as the composers Paul Hindemith and Frank Martin.
Since 2000, Christian Zacharias has served as artistic director of the orchestra. In 2007, Thomas Demenga became composer-in-residence, a first among Swiss orchestras.
Radio Suisse Romande records the orchestra's concerts. Live-streaming of the orchestra's concerts occurs on Espace 2.
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