The WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne (Sinfonieorchester des Westdeutschen Rundfunks) is a German orchestra based in Cologne. The orchestra was founded in 1947 by Allied occupation authorities after World War II, as the orchestra of Nordwestdeutschen Rundfunk (NWDR; Northwest German Radio). The orchestra later acquired the names of the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra and the WDR Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra is particularly known for its performances of 20th-century and contemporary music. It has commissioned and premiered works from such composers as Luciano Berio, Hans Werner Henze, Mauricio Kagel, Krzysztof Penderecki, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Bernd Alois Zimmermann.
Since 1997, the orchestra's principal conductor has been Semyon Bychkov. He is scheduled to step down from the post in 2010. In November 2008, the orchestra announced the appointment of Jukka-Pekka Saraste as its next principal conductor, effective with the 2010-2011 season.