Since it’s first concert, in 1954, the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra — Osesp — has built a very successful path, until becoming the institution it is nowadays. Internationally renowned for its excellence, the orchestra is a major force in the cultural life of both the state of São Paulo and Brazil as a whole, promoting deep cultural and social changes.

During it’s early years, it was directed by conductor Souza Lima and by the italian Bruno Roccella, followed later by Eleazar de Carvalho (1912-96), who directed the orchestra for 24 years and developed intense activities. In the last years under his wings, the group went through a period of financial deprivation. However, before his passing, Eleazar left a reformulation project for Osesp. Thanks to the efforts of governor Mário Covas, the choice of the conductor who would lead this new phase in the history of the orchestra was made.
In 1997, maestro John Neschling took over Osesp’s artistic direction and, with conductor Roberto Minczuk as his assistant artistic director, redefined and expanded the ideas left by Eleazar. Soon after, Osesp opened auditions in Brazil and abroad, raised the salaries and improved the work condition of its musicians.

Sala São Paulo was opened in 1999 and, in the following years, Symphonic, Chamber, Youth and Children’s Choirs were created, along with the Center for Musical Documentation, the Educational Programs, the “Criadores do Brasil” (Creators from Brazil) publishing office and the Music Academy.

Its seasons became famous for the diversity of repertoire, and partnerships with labels BIS (Sweden) and Biscoito Fino (Rio de Janeiro) ensured the diffusion of Brazilian concert music.  The creation of Osesp Foundation, in 2005, represents a milestone in the orchestra’s history.
With former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso ahead of the Administration Council, the Foundation puts into practice new management standards that became benchmarks in the brazilian cultural environment.

Besides tours in Latin America (2000, 2005, 2007), United States (2002, 2006, 2009), Europe (2003, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013) and Brazil (2004, 2008, 2011), the group maintains, since 2008, the “Osesp Itinerante” (Travelling Osesp) project, touring through the countryside of the state of São Paulo, performing concerts and running workshops and musical appreciation courses for more than 70 thousand people.

Nominated in 2008 by Gramophone magazine as one of the world’s three emerging orchestras to look for, and more recently (2012) featured in publications such as The Times and Gramophone, Osesp opened the 2010 season with Arthur Nestrovski’s appointment as artistic director and (french conductor) Yan Pascal Tortelier as principal conductor.

In February 2011, the Osesp Foundation Council announced north-american Marin Alsop as new principal conductor for a starting period of five years, beginning in 2012. Yan Pascal Tortelier continued to work with Osesp as guest conductor during 2012 and 2013 seasons. Also in 2012, Celso Antunes became the orchestra’s associate conductor.

In the same year, after concerts for the BBC Proms, in London, and in Amsterdam’s  Concertgebouw, Osesp was pointed out by critics abroad as one of the leading orchestras in the international scenario. It also released the first records through Naxos record label, part of a project devoted to release Prokofiev’s complete symphonies, conducted by Marin Alsop, and Villa-Lobos complete symphonies, conducted by Isaac Karabtchevsky.

In 2013, Marin Alsop was named Osesp’s musical director and the orchestra went on another european tour, performing for the first time — with great success — at Salle Pleyel, in Paris, at the Royal Festival Hall, in London, and at the Philharmonie, in Berlin. 
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