The Philharmonie Südwestfalen has carried the title of State Orchestra of North Rhine-Westfalia since 1992. Based in Hilchenbach/Siegen-Wittgenstein, the Philharmonic is active in the entire South Westfalia region, in addition to regular guest-performances across Germany, as well as in the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, and the Czech Republic.
Successful tours to France and to China underline the international recognition of the orchestra. Guest performances have included the 2007 Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, in Rome, in Milan, as well as in Amsterdam. In 2016 the Philharmonie Südwestfalen was active as a festival orchestra with numerous performances in Switzerland.
An orchestra excelling in classical, romantic, as well as modern concert repertoire, the Philharmonie Südwestfalen has benefitted, to much acclaim, from its open-minded programming. Everything from modern works to baroque pieces can be heard regularly throughout the season. In 2007 the Philharmonie premiered two commissioned pieces by the composers Iris ter Schiphorst and Gerhard Stäbler.
Philharmonie Südwestfalen places particular emphasis on education. The orchestra performs several Teddy-Bear Concerts for kindergarten-aged children, an annual series of school concerts for elementary students, as well as maintaining partnerships with Märkisches Jugend-Sinfonieorchester. The Philharmonie is also actively involved in the advancement of young talented conductors in regular collaboration with the Conductors Forum of the Deutscher Musikrat, as well as with the music universities.
The musicians of the Philharmonie Südwestfalen present numerous chamber music concerts in smaller settings, including modern programs at the Siegen Museum of Modern Art. In addition to regular recordings and programs for German radio, the orchestra could be seen live on WDR television for the Advent Concert (attended by North-Rhein Westfalen’s Minister-President) in 2006, 2007, 2013, and 2016.
The Philharmonie Südwestfalen has been led by their new chief conductor Nabil Shehata since the start of the 2019/20 season.