Established over 150 years ago in 1868, the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich is Switzerland‘s oldest symphony orchestra. After increased calls in the mid-19th century for a permanent professional orchestra and after the success of the Swiss Music festival in 1867, a stock company was founded in 1868, with the aim of promoting musical life with a permanent orchestra: the Tonhalle Society Zürich, which continues to support the Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich to this day and is organised as an association. The ensemble consists of just over 100 musicians from 20 countries and can be heard performing about 50 programmes at more than 100 concerts per season. The Tonhalle in Zürich houses the Orchestra but they can currently be found at the Tonhalle Maag whilst the Tonhalle is renovated, with a grand reopening planned for the 2020/21 season.
In the past two decades, the Orchestra has performed in over 70 cities in 16 countries, and has been accompanied on its tours by distinguished soloists such as Janine Jansen, Martin Grubinger, Joshua Bell, Rudolf Buchbinder, Julia Fischer, Gautier Capuçon, Yuja Wang, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Lisa Batiashvili and Sabine Meyer. The orchestra maintains close links with guest conductors such as Franz Welser-Möst, Bernard Haitink, Herbert Blomstedt, Manfred Honeck, Krzysztof Urbański, Jakub Hrůša, Kent Nagano, Giovanni Antonini and Jan Willem de Vriend. At the beginning of the 2019/20 season, Paavo Järvi took over from Lionel Bringuier as Chief Conductor and Music Director of the orchestra on a five-year term.