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The history of the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine is closely connected with the history of music in Bordeaux. It was towards 1850 that professional musicians set up the Orchestre de la Société Sainte-Cécile in Bordeaux. In 1932 Gaston Poulet, director of the Bordeaux Conservatoire, established his own concert society, the two organizations leading, in 1940, to the creation of the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, under Gaston Poulet. At the same time the orchestra collaborated, as today, with the Grand-Théâtre de Bordeaux, on stage or in the pit, conducted by Inghelbrecht, Cluytens, Knappertsbusch, and Pierné, among others.

After the war there were various changes, with what was now the Orchestre Philharmonique de Bordeaux under the director of the Conservatoire, Georges Carrère, succeeded in 1963 by Jacques Pernoo, with the orchestra now known as the Orchestre Symphonique de Bordeaux.

In 1973 the orchestra assumed a regional sphere of activity, its 95 players under Roberto Benzi taking the name of the Orchestre de Bordeaux Aquitaine. In 1988 Alain Lombard was appointed artistic director of the ensemble which now took on its present title and a wider field of activity, with recordings, television appearances and international tours, growing to a complement of 120 players. From 1998 to 2004 Hans Graf served as musical director, with Yutaka Sado as principal guest conductor from 1999 to 2004. The composer Christian Lauba became conductor from 2004 to 2006, with Kwamé Ryan as artistic and musical director from September 2007.

The Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine is financed by the Mairie de Bordeaux, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and the Regional Council of Aquitaine.

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