The Symphony Orchestra (SO) of the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) is a leading orchestra in Bulgarian musical culture and in the community of European radio formations. The musicians on its staff have graduated from the most prestigious musical academies: those of Moscow, St Petersburg, The Julliard School, Professor P.Vladigerov State Musical Academy.

The Orchestra’s serious development to the standards of prestigious professional orchestras started under the great Bulgarian conductor Vassil Stefanov (1913-1991). After the beginning in 1948, with a small ensemble for a year, Stefanov took over the orchestra in 1954 and worked with it for more than 30 years. He made the Symphony Orchestra of the BNR a leading cultural institution in Bulgaria. Making contributions of their own to the development and artistic growth of the Orchestra were Vassil Kazandjiev, Alexander Vladigerov (1933-1993), Milen Nachev and Rossen Milanov.

Since the middle of the last concert season, the outstanding Bulgarian conductor and composer Emil Tabakov has taken the lead of the Orchestra. The current season has been the first, when the programme, conductors and soloists have been completely selected on the initiative and undertaking of Tabakov and his staff at the Bulgarian National Radio.

The SO or the BNR has also been engaging in busy concert activities both in Bulgaria and abroad. The Orchestra has been invariably taking part in the major international music festivals in Bulgaria: the March Music Days in Ruse and the Varna Summer. The Orchestra’s concert tours have included South Korea, France, Spain, Germany; it has taken part in the cultural programme of Mondial ’98 (France), the inauguration of the Europalia Festival in Brussels, a concert under the Acropolis within the frameworks of the cultural Olympiad in Athens, participation in Cypria – the most outstanding cultural festival in Cyprus. In January 2008, the Radio symphony orchestra had an exceptionally successful concert tour with Rossen Milanov and Bulgarian  star Vesselina Kasarova in some of the largest concert halls of Europe: in Munich, Dortmund (Germany), Valladolid (Spain) and in the Concertgebouw (the Netherlands).

Music recording is among the most important activities of the Orchestra. Apart from making recordings for the fund of the BNR, it also records for foreign companies like PHONIC (Belgium), SOUND PRODUCTS (the Netherlands), HARMONIA MUNDI (France), BMG ARIOLA (Italy), PYRAMID RECORD (USA) and for all the Bulgarian music recording companies. The SO of the BNR is actively involved in the international exchanges of the BNR with studio recordings and concerts, broadcast live via the European Broadcasting Union for the European audience.

In 2001 the Symphony Orchestra of the BNR received the Crystal Lyre award of the Union of Musicians and Dancers in Bulgaria for its high achievements in the sphere of the art of music. In 2005, the orchestra received the Sirak Skitnik Prize of the BNR.

From January 2016 Rossen Gergov is the new chief conductor of Symphony orchestra of the Bulgarian National Radio.