The first French symphonic orchestra, active between 1828-1967. From 1967, the orchestra continues as Orchestre De Paris.
Administered by the philharmonic association of the Paris Conservatoire, the orchestra consisted of professors of the Conservatoire and their pupils. It was formed by François-Antoine Habeneck in pioneering fashion, aiming to present Beethoven's symphonies, but over time it became more conservative in its programming.
Its long existence kept the tradition of playing taught at the Conservatoire prominent in French musical life. The orchestra occupied the center-stage of French musical life throughout the 19th and most of the 20th centuries. A major tour of the USA took place in 1918, appearing in 52 cities. Later that year it made the first of its many recordings.
In 1967, financial difficulties, along with irregular work for the players and poor pay led to a decision by the French government to form a new orchestra. Following auditions chaired by Charles Munch, 108 musicians were chosen (of whom 50 were from the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra) for the newly created Orchestre de Paris, which gave its first concert on 14 November 1967 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.
Premieres given by the orchestra include Berlioz's Symphonie "Fantastique", Saint-Saëns's Cello Concerto No. 1, and Franck's Symphony.
The chief conductors of the orchestra were:
François-Antoine Habeneck 1828–1848
Narcisse Girard 1848–1860
Théophile Tilmant 1860–1863
François George-Hainl 1863–1872
Édouard Deldevez 1872–1885
Jules Garcin 1885–1892
Claude-Paul Taffanel 1892–1901
Georges Marty 1901–1908
André Messager 1908–1919
Philippe Gaubert (2) 1919–1938
Charles Munch 1938–1946
André Cluytens 1946–1960.
No Principal Conductor was appointed during the orchestra's final years 1960–1967.