Bochum Symphony Orchestra

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The Bochum Symphony Orchestra has grown steadily in size and international reach since its reestablishment after World War II.
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Germany's Bochum Symphony Orchestra (German: Bochumer Symphoniker) is a major ensemble of the industrial Ruhr Valley region. It has grown steadily in both size and reach since its reestablishment following World War II. The Bochum Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1918 as the Municipal Orchestra of Bochum and was intended at first as a backing ensemble for operas and theater productions at the city's Schauspielhaus theater. It began to give public concerts of its own in 1919 and gained some regional renown in the 1920s and '30s. The orchestra's operations were suspended in September 1944 but resumed informally in July 1945, just two months after Germany's surrender. Paul Hindemith conducted the orchestra in a 1955 appearance at the opening of the rebuilt Schauspielhaus, and the orchestra appeared at the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. By the late 1960s, the orchestra had a full-size complement of 80 members, and had been renamed the Bochum Symphony Orchestra. By the late 1970s, conductor Othmar Mága was leading the group in a regular schedule of 75 concerts a year. The year 1991 saw the opening of the orchestra's new Bochum Jahrhunderthalle venue. Three years later, American conductor Steven Sloane took up the baton; he has succeeded in bringing in new audiences locally, raising the orchestra's international profile, and entering the recording market. The first goal was accomplished partly through crossover projects involving rock stars Ian Anderson and Sting, harmony vocal group Take 6, and German vocalist and actor Herbert Grönemeyer, who headlined a show at the city's Ruhrstadion that drew a sellout crowd of 29,000. The orchestra toured the U.S., Estonia, and Israel, and began performing with the newly established Bochum Philharmonic Choir. Another new orchestra hall, the Anneliese Brost Music Forum Ruhr, opened in 2016. Sloane has led the orchestra in several recordings on the Naxos label, including the latest of several volumes of the orchestral music of Austrian composer Joseph Marx, released in 2019.