Founded in 1993 by Vladimir Delman, the Orchestra immediately became an essential reference for the great symphonic repertoire in Milan and the surrounding area. Since 1999, the orchestra has been conducted by three highly prestigious conductors: Riccardo Chailly (1999 – 2005), whose experience has made the orchestra one of the most important national and international symphonies, capable of tackling a repertoire that ranges from Bach to the cornerstones of 19th-century symphonies to 20th-century music; Zhang Xian (2009 – 2016), the first woman conductor to hold such a position in Italy; and Claus Peter Flor (2017/18 – ongoing).
Throughout its history, the orchestra has hosted some of the most illustrious batons of the second half of the 20th century, from Carlo Maria Giulini to Peter Maag, from Georges Prêtre to Vladimir Fedoseyev, Helmuth Rilling, Patrick Fournillier and Riccardo Muti. Among the great soloists featured in memorable concerts are Martha Argerich , Aldo Ceccato, Tibor Varga, Steven Isserlis, Lilya Zilberstein , Roberto Prosseda, Kolja Blacher and Yefim Bronfman.
Besides its continuous presence in Milan with a rich symphonic season, the Orchestra is often invited to prestigious halls in Italy and abroad. Among the most iconic engagements were two tours in the 2009/10 season: the first in the main theatres in Switzerland, with Roberto Abbado conducting, the second in Italy with Wayne Marshall . In 2011, the Orchestra and choral ensembles were invited to the inauguration of the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman for a performance of Bizet’s Carmen (conductor Patrick Fourniller). In 2012, the Orchestra, conducted by Jader Bignamini and with the participation of violinist Francesca Dego, was the protagonist of a triumphant tour in Russia (Moscow and St. Petersburg), on the occasion of Banca Intesa San Paolo’s 40th anniversary in Moscow.