The Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (German: Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR) is an orchestra based in Stuttgart in Germany. The ensemble was founded in 1945 by American occupation authorities as the orchestra for Radio Stuttgart, under the name Sinfonieorchester von Radio Stuttgart (Symphony Orchestra of Radio Stuttgart). The radio network later became the Süddeutscher Rundfunk (SDR, South German Radio), and the orchestra changed its name in 1949 to the Sinfonieorchester des Süddeutschen Rundfunks (South German Radio Symphony Orchestra). In 1959, the orchestra took on the name Südfunk-Sinfonieorchester, and acquired its current name in 1975.
Like many broadcast orchestras in Germany, the orchestra has a reputation for performing contemporary music. Past principal conductors included Sir Neville Marriner (1983–1989), who later held the title of principal guest conductor. Georges Prêtre, who became the orchestra's artistic director in 1996, has the title of Conductor Laureate. From 1998 to 2011, Roger Norrington was principal conductor, and incorporated his ideas of historically informed performance, including minimal use of vibrato, into the orchestra's style of playing. Norrington now shares the title of Ehrendirigent (honorary conductor) with Georges Prêtre. In March 2010, the orchestra announced the appointment of Stéphane Denève as its next principal conductor, starting with the 2011-2012 season. His initial contract was for 3 years. In June 2013, the orchestra announced the extension of Denève's contract through the 2015-2016 season.
In June 2012, the SWR Broadcasting Council voted to approve a measure proposed by SWR Intendant Peter Boudgoust to merge the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra with the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra, for ostensible reasons of budgetary limitations for two separate orchestras affiliated with the SWR. The SWR Broadcasting Council formally passed the measure in September 2012, with the merger of the two orchestras scheduled to occur in 2016. International protests at the proposal have emerged.
The orchestra has recorded for several labels, including Hänssler and ECM New Series.