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The history of the orchestra began in 1931 when an ensemble was organized at the Leningrad Radio. Shortly after that, the ensemble grew to the level of a symphony orchestra. The orchestra, performing in the live air format and collaborating with many conductors, called for constant reinvigoration of a program and acquired flexibility in its performing manner. During the World War II Siege of Leningrad, this orchestra of Leningrad Radio was the only symphony orchestra remaining in the blockaded city. In August 1942, conducted by Karl Eliasberg, this orchestra played the historic Leningrad premiere of the Seventh Symphony by Shostakovich in the Philharmonia.