The Algarve Orchestra was established in 2002 to provide the Southern Coast of Portugal, the Algarve, with a cultural asset of international quality and wide-ranging activity, and to meet the cultural needs of the six million people who annually visit and live in this region. The orchestra is funded by the leading cities of the region (Albufeira, Faro, Lagos, Loulé, Portimão and Tavira), the Board of Tourism and the University of the Algarve as well as the Ministry of Culture. Over eight hundred musicians, mostly young, applied and about a hundred were invited to audition in Faro, the capital of the Algarve, in March 2002. Out of these, 31 highly qualified instrumentalists of different nationalities were selected to form a classical orchestra composed of pairs of flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets and timpani, with strings. The importance and the artistic potential of the Algarve Orchestra were recognized before its opening concert on 16th June, 2002. Indeed, the event was featured by such leading international publications as Gramophone, Classical Music and Neue Musikzeitung, among others. Furthermore, as a result of highly successful recordings which the orchestras Music Director Álvaro Cassuto made for Marco Polo with the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the Northern Sinfonia and the City of London Sinfonia, Marco Polos sister label, Naxos, decided to make four recordings annually with the new Algarve Orchestra. Every month the orchestra performs a series of seven concerts in the Algarve sponsored by the various funding cities as well as the University. It also performs in other cities as well as in privately funded concerts, and is embarking on significant national and international tours. As part of its artistic policy, outstanding members of the orchestra are regularly featured as soloists. The orchestra is also involved in an important professional training programme for young musicians.