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The Portuguese Symphony Orchestra was established in 1993 by the Portuguese government to replace the activity of two other orchestras, the Radio Symphony Orchestra and the National São Carlos Opera Orchestra. Despite its short existence, the 111-member orchestra has developed into an ensemble of remarkable artistic level. It has received enthusiastic reviews and many invitations from a variety of music festivals as well as from European concert agencies to tour Europe, America as well as the Far East. In 1997 it performed the closing concert at the International Music and Dance Festival in Granada, and two concerts during the International Book Fair in Frankfurt. Its activity is divided between operatic performances at the National São Carlos Opera House and symphonic subscription series in the new Cultural Centre of Belém, in Lisbon. In addition, it performs Sunday classical matinées and Young People’s Concerts and also appears in different cities throughout the country. The orchestra collaborates with the Portuguese government radio, which broadcasts its concerts and organises international events in conjunction with the Union Européenne de Radiodiffusion and Eurovision, including competitions and broadcasts. Many leading guest artists have appeared with the orchestra, with conductors including Lukas Foss, Maxim Shostakovich and Krzysztof Penderecki. The orchestra has a wide repertoire and has won particular success with works by Richard Strauss, Mahler and Bruckner, as well as in the opera house.

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