It is the oldest Slovak professional orchestral ensemble. It was established in 1929 for Slovak Radio broadcasting needs. During the period of its existence it has grown up into an ensemble of a representative character, regularly performing as a guest at domestic and foreign concerts and festivals. It cooperates with major cultural and artistic institutions and music publishers at home and abroad. It has performed in all the major European and world musical centres.

The first conductors of the orchestra were Oskar Nedbal, František Dyk, Kornel Schimpl, František Babušek, Ladislav Holoubek, Karel Nedbal; later Dr. Ľudovít Rajter (chief conductor between 1946 – 1949), Richard Týnský, Vlastimil Horák, Dr. Otakar Trhlík, Bystrík Režucha, Ondrej Lenárd, Oliver Dohnányi, Róbert Stankovský, and Canadian conductor Charles Olivieri-Munroe. At present, the main conductor of the orchestra is Mario Košik, the second conductor since January 2015 is Adrian Kokoš. Many guest conductors have cooperated with the orchestra, such as A. Pedrotti, Ch. Mackeras, G. Lehel, J. Hopkins, Z. Košler, V. Smetáček, V. Jiráček, V. Neumann, K. Ančerl, M. Ponti, G. Kremer, S. Gunzenhauser, A. Mogrelia, J. Wildner, J. Sado, T. Koutník, M. de Prosperis, Z. Macháček, R. Štúr, P. Feranec, and others.

The orchestra has realized countless recordings mainly for the domestic radio library, but also for recording companies and music publishers such as Opus, Supraphon, Naxos, Marco Polo, Arte Nova, and others.

The orchestra has its own cycle of concerts, which take place in the Large Concert Studio of the Slovak Radio building on Mýtna Street in Bratislava.