Staatskapelle Dresden

One of the oldest orchestras in the world with a rich tradition has been the orchestra in residence of the Salzburg Easter Festival since 2013

Richard Wagner’s “Wonderharp”

Founded by Prince-Elector Moritz von Sachsen in 1548, the Staatskapelle Dresden is one of the oldest orchestras in the world and thus steeped in tradition. Over its long history many distinguished conductors and internationally celebrated instrumentalists have left their mark on this former court orchestra. Previous directors include Heinrich Schütz, Johann Adolf Hasse, Carl Maria von Weber and Richard Wagner, who called the ensemble his “wonderharp”.

The list of prominent conductors of the last 150 years includes Ernst von Schuch, Fritz Reiner, Fritz Busch, Karl Böhm, Joseph Keilberth, Rudolf Kempe, Otmar Suitner, Kurt Sanderling, Herbert Blomstedt and Giuseppe Sinopoli. The orchestra was directed by Bernard Haitink from 2002–2004 and by Fabio Luisi from 2007–2010. Christian Thielemann took up the baton as Principal Conductor in the 2012/13 season. In May 2016 the former Principal Conductor Herbert Blomstedt received the title of Conductor Laureate. The only person to previously hold this title was Sir Colin Davis, from 1990 until his death in April 2013. Myung-Whun Chung has been Principal Guest Conductor since 2012.

World Premieres of Works by Richard Strauss - and many others

Richard Strauss and the Staatskapelle had a close association for more than 60 years. Nine of the composer’s operas were first performed in Dresden, while Strauss’s Alpensinfonie was dedicated to the orchestra. Many other famous composers have written works first performed by the Staatskapelle, like, for example, Hans Werner Henze, Sofia Gubaidulina, Wolfgang Rihm, György Kurtág, Arvo Pärt, Peter Eötvös and Aribert Reiman.

At Home at the Semperoper - and Touring the World

The Staatskapelle Dresden’s home is the Semperoper, where it performs around 260 opera and ballet performances each season. In addition, the ensemble presents another 50 symphonic and chamber concerts in Dresden. As one of the most celebrated and popular symphony orchestras, the Staatskapelle regularly travels abroad to the world’s leading classical venues.

Engagements and Awards

As partner orchestra of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, the Staatskapelle supports the nurturing of young talent.
In 2007, the Staatskapelle Dresden became the first orchestra to be awarded the European Prize for the Preservation of the World’s Musical Heritage.