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São Paulo Symphony Orchestra


  • Since its first concert in 1954, the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra [Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo] – Osesp has become an integral part of São Paulo and Brazilian culture, promoting cultural and social transformation. Osesp plays over a hundred concerts every season for nearly 150,000 people at its own concert hall, Sala São Paulo, which was listed in 2015 by The Guardian as one of the 10 best music halls in the world.

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  • In 2024, Osesp celebrates its 70th anniversary through a series of special initiatives, led by its Music Director and Principal Conductor Thierry Fischer. The festive year kicks off with the performance and recording of seven specially commissioned 10-minute pieces — one for each decade of the Orchestra’s life — by Andrew Norman, Clarice Assad, Esteban Benzecry, Felipe Lara, Heinz Holliger, Unsuk Chin, and the winner of the Latin American Women Composers Competition, held by Osesp Foundation. The Orchestra and Fischer are also embarking on international tours in Europe, China, and across Brazil. And following on from 2023, when Osesp, led by Fischer, began recording Mahler’s complete symphony cycle in spatial audio, 2024 features the release of the Third Symphony as well as the recording of the First and Second Symphonies of the Austro-Bohemian composer.

    Having toured Latin America, The United States, Europe, China, and Brazil, the Orchestra, conducted by former Music Director Marin Alsop, appeared in major European Summer festivals and concert halls in 2016. The group toured China in 2019, becoming the first Latin American professional orchestra to perform in that country, and made its debut at Carnegie Hall, New York, in October 2022, playing two different programs. In the first concert, it played as a guest orchestra in the official subscription series of that historical venue. In the second event, it performed the acclaimed "Floresta Villa-Lobos" [The Amazon Concert], a tribute to Brazilian culture and nature consisting of 75 minutes of music with no intermission combined with an immersive video showcasing the riches of the country's fauna and flora.

    Osesp has released over 100 albums, and its concerts are regularly broadcast on television and radio, as well as livestreamed weekly on its YouTube channel. Since 2012, the Orchestra, in partnership with Naxos, develops an ambitious recording project that envisages a series of albums devoted to Brazilian music, including Heitor Villa-Lobos's complete symphonies recorded under the baton of Isaac Karabtchevsky. The project also encompasses the publication of critical editions of the recorded scores by Osesp Publishing House, whose catalogue comprises over 200 titles.

    The São Paulo Symphony Orchestra runs a large educational and outreach program for over 25,000 children and teenagers every season. It has its own children, youth, and symphonic choirs, as well as a Music Academy, offering professional guidance to young orchestral musicians, singers, and conductors.

Past tour
Asia with Marin Alsop and Ning Feng
Asia, February 2019
Intermusica tours the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra to China and Hong Kong in February 2019.

Led by their Music Director, Marin Alsop, and joined by violinist Ning Feng, the orchestra will perform programmes showcasing the music of South American composers alongside works by Prokofiev, Paganini and Strauss and touch upon Marin’s close association with Leonard Bernstein by performing his Candide overture.

Programme 1

PROKOFIEV Symphony No. 1 in D major, “Classical”, Op 25
PAGANINI Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op 6
Violinist: Ning Feng
CAMARGO GUARNIERI Suite Vila Rica (excerpts)
R STRAUSS Der Rosenkavalier Suite


Programme 2

BERSTEIN Candide Overture
VILLA-LOBOS Bachianas Brasileiras, No 4
GINASTERA Dances from Estancia, Op 8
RIMSKY-KORSAVKOV Scheherazade, Op 35


14 February 2019
Shanghai Grand Theatre, Shanghai, China

15 February 2019
Shandong Grand Theatre, Jinan, China

16 February 2019
NCPA, Beijing, China

21 February 2019
Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Hong Kong

22 February 2019
Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Hong Kong

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Past tour
Summer Festivals
Europe, August 2016
It is fitting that in the Brazilian Olympic year, the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop tour Europe's major summer festivals.

In Edinburgh on 22 August and collaborating with the festival chorus, they perform two choral works - Villa-Lobos Chôros No.10, A.209 'Rasga o coração' and Bernstein Chichester Psalms and close with a performance of Shostakovich Symphony No.5.

In London as part of the BBC Proms the orchestra will perform a concert opening with Brazilian composer Marlos Nobre's Kabbalah. As a late night event, the orchestra will be joined by musicians from the São Paulo Jazz Symphony Orchestra for a landmark celebration of Brazilian popular-music from the past 100 years.

Their performance at the Lucerne Festival will showcase Marlos Nobre 'Kabbalah', Grieg Piano Concerto performed by Gabriela Montero, Villa-Lobos Prelude from Bachianas Brasileiras 4 and Rachmaninov Symphonic Dances.


22 August 2016
Usher Hall, Edinburgh

24 August 2016, 19:00
Royal Albert Hall, London  

24 August 2016, 22:15
Royal Albert Hall, London  

26 August 2016
KKL Concert Hall, Lucerne

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Past tour
UK and Ireland
Europe, October 2013
In October 2013, Intermusica toured the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra to the UK and Ireland for three concerts conducted by its Music Director Marin Alsop.

The concerts in London, Manchester and Dublin were part of a wider European tour. This followed an acclaimed UK performance by the orchestra in 2012, when Intermusica brought the orchestra to the BBC Proms.

Guarnieri Symphony No.4 ‘Brasilia’
Bernstein West Side Story: Symphonic Dances
Berio Sinfonia

Assad Saravá
Bernstein West Side Story: Symphonic Dances
Mahler Symphony No.1 in D major ‘Titan’

Conductor and others:
Marin Alsop conductor
The Swingle Singers

“…a stellar performance, full of colour, vitality and drama… though they play with the technical proficiency of a top professional orchestra, they somehow retain the spirit and passion of a wide-eyed youth orchestra.”

“High-energy, vividly coloured… what a corker of an encore Alsop found with Victory Stride by James P Johnson, composer of the “Charleston”, a jazzy, uplifting, raucous winner – brilliant!”
Financial Times

“This [Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances] was a taught performance, disciplined enough for the seemingly abandoned Mambo to evaporate into a deliciously sweet Cha-Cha, and with big melodies that melted the heart without curdling into sentimentality.”

“One might excuse the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra for feeling jaded as this Manchester performance was the penultimate concert in a demanding fifteen date European tour. Yet the playing at this concert in the Bridgewater Hall International Concert Serieswas anything but lacklustre with the reliable baton of chief conductor Marin Alsop ensuring an enthusiastic performance steeped with vitality.”
Seen and Heard

“Between these three works, the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra have displayed immense ability, control and charm, and under the baton of Alsop, these qualities are very much at the fore of this evening’s performance. A wonderful orchestra, with a wonderful conductor, in a wonderful setting – is there anything else you could possibly desire?”


25 October 2013
Royal Festival Hall, London

26 October 2013
National Concert Hall, Dublin

27 October 2013
Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

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Past tour
Debut Tour to the UK
UK, August 2012
In August 2012 Intermusica brought the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra to the UK for the very first time, facilitating their debuts at both the BBC Proms and Aldeburgh Snape Proms.

Conducted by Marin Alsop, the performance at the BBC Proms also marked the first ever performance by a Brazilian orchestra at the British festival. The orchestra brought with them a programme offering the musical soundscapes of both North and South America, such as Dvorak’s Symphony ‘From the New World’ and works by Villa Lobos.

BBC Proms:
Dvorák Symphony No.9 in E minor, Op.95 'From the New World'
Copland Fanfare for the Common Man
Tower Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman
Villa Lobos Momoprécoce, fantasy for piano and orchestra
Ginastera Dances from Estancia, dance suite from the ballet, Op.8a

Snape Proms, Aldeburgh:
Dvorák Cello Concerto in B minor, Op.104 – 40
Tchaikovsky Symphony No.4 in F minor


15 August 2012

BBC Proms

16 August 2012

Snape Proms, Aldeburgh

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Peter Ansell
Director / Head of International Touring
+44 20 7608 9930