The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) is an American orchestra based in the city of Rochester, New York. Its primary concert venue is the Eastman Theatre at the Eastman School of Music.
The RPO was founded in 1922 by industrialist and music-lover George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Company. The Orchestra performs up to 130 concerts annually. Notable former music directors include Christopher Seaman, Eugene Goossens, José Iturbi, Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman, and Mark Elder. The RPO has performed under the batons of such renowned guest conductors as Fritz Reiner, Leonard Bernstein, Sir Thomas Beecham, and Leopold Stokowski. In 1947, the RPO chose Leinsdorf over Bernstein for musical director. Leinsdorf "came to despair of what he saw as Rochester's insular musical culture, famously remarking that 'Rochester is the best disguised dead end in the world!'"
From 1939 through 1964, the Rochester Philharmonic, usually supplemented by faculty members of the Eastman School, often recorded under the names Eastman-Rochester Orchestra under the direction of Howard Hanson and Eastman-Rochester Pops under Frederick Fennell. (See below for additional recording information.)