The OSI has made a name for itself as one of the leading European orchestras on the international stage. Since the 1930s it has played a central role in the region’s musical development, taking on its present name in 1991. Ansermet, Stravinsky, Stokowski, Celibidache and Scherchen are among the great musical figures to have directed it, while the many composers with whom it has collaborated include Mascagni, Richard Strauss, Honegger, Milhaud, Martin and Hindemith, and in more recent times Berio, Henze and Penderecki.
Under its principal conductor Markus Poschner the orchestra has thrilled both audiences and leading critics with performances and recordings that have been hailed as groundbreaking for their originality, the boldness of their tempi and their richness of detail and nuance. In January 2018 the OSI-Poschner partnership was recognised at the international level when the boxed set Rereading Brahms (Sony Classical 2016) was one of the winners at the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) 2018.
The Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana is one of fourteen professional orchestras currently active in Switzerland. It consists of forty-one permanent musicians and divides its time between regional concert seasons (RSI concerts, LuganoMusica, Settimane Musicali di Ascona), local outreach events (concerts for schools, family concerts, summer festivals), joint projects with the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana, and concerts in other parts of Switzerland and abroad (tours and international co-productions). It works with the great names of orchestral conducting and with internationally acclaimed soloists, performing in the most important concert venues. Through the Martha Argerich Project in Lugano it has also had the privilege of working closely with the great Argentinian pianist for over fifteen years.
Since 2015 it has been the Resident Orchestra at LAC, Lugano Arte e Cultura.
The OSI is funded principally by the Canton of Ticino, the City of Lugano and the Associazione Amici dell’OSI. Its International Partner is the Helsinn Group. From 2018 its main sponsor will be the Banca dello Stato del Cantone Ticino, while the SSR/RSI will provide support in the role of client.
In July 2017 the OSI was awarded the prestigious Premio alla Carriera founded by the organisers of Estival Jazz with the financial support of the Corriere del Ticino.
Markus Poschner, from September 2015 principal conductor
Vladimir Ashkenazy, from September 2013 direttore ospite principale
Alain Lombard, 1999 - 2005 principal conductor, from 2005 honorary conductor
Mikhail Pletnev, 2008 - 2010 principal guest conductor
Serge Baudo, 1997 - 2000 principal guest conductor
Nicholas Carthy, 1993 - 1996 principal conductor
Marc Andreae, 1969 - 1991 principal conductor
Otmar Nussio, 1938 - 1968 principal conductor
Leopoldo Casella, 1935 - 1938 principal conductor
From January 2018 the OSI will be sponsored by BancaStato