The Gran Teatre del Liceu Symphony Orchestra is the oldest orchestra in Spain. During almost 170 years of history, the Gran Teatre del Liceu Symphony Orchestra has been directed by some of the greatest conductors, from Arturo Toscanini to Erich Kleiber, Otto Klemperer, Hans Knapperstsbusch, Bruno Walter, Fritz Reiner, Richard Strauss, Alexander Glazunov, Ottorino Respighi, Pietro Mascagni, Igor Stravinsky, Manuel de Falla and Eduard Toldrà, and even Riccardo Muti and Kirill Petrenko in our own day.
It has performed premieres of the great opera repertoires in the Iberian Peninsula, from the Baroque period to the present, and has paid special attention to Catalan lyrical production throughout its history.
It debuted in 1847 with a symphony concert conducted by Marià Obiols. Its first opera was Anna Bolena by Donizetti. Since then, it has performed continuously during all the seasons of the Liceu. After the reconstruction in 1999, its directors were Bertrand de Billy (1999-2004), Sebastian Weigle (2004-2008), Michael Boder (2008-2012) and Josep Pons, its most recent director, who began in September 2012.