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 Maurice of Saxony in 1548, the Staatskapelle Dresden is one of the oldest orchestras in the world and is 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 100 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 to 2004 and by Fabio Luisi from 2007 to 2010. Christian Thielemann took up the baton as Principal Conductor at the beginning of the 2012/13 season. The first and so far only Conductor Laureate in the history of the Staatskapelle, from 1990 until his death in April 2013, was Sir Colin Davis. Myung-Whun Chung has been Principal Guest Conductor since the 2012/13 season.
At Home at the Semperoper - and Touring the World
The Staatskapelle Dresden’s home is the Semperoper, where it performs around 250 operas and ballets each season. In addition the ensemble presents another 50 symphonic and chamber concerts in the opera house, as well as playing at various musical events in Dresden’s Frauenkirche. As one of the world’s most renowned symphony orchestras, the Staatskapelle regularly travels abroad to the world’s leading classical venues. Since 2013, the Staatskapelle Dresden has been the orchestra in residence at the Salzburg Easter Festival.
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, including Salome, Elektra and Der Rosenkavalier, while Strauss’s Eine Alpensinfonie was dedicated to the orchestra. Many other famous composers have written works either dedicated to the orchestra or first performed in Dresden. In 2007 the Staatskapelle reaffirmed this tradition by introducing the annual position of “Capell-Compositeur”. Following on from Hans Werner Henze, Sofia Gubaidulina, Wolfgang Rihm, György Kurtág und Arvo Pärt Hungarian composer Peter Eötvös holds this title during the 2017/18 season. “Capell-Virtuos” in this season is the outstanding violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann.
Support of the Home Region
The Staatskapelle Dresden also does valuable work to support its home region. Since October 2008 it has been the patron orchestra of Meetingpoint Music Messiaen in the double city of Görlitz/Zgorzelec. And in September 2010 the orchestra helped found the International Shostakovich Days in Gohrisch (Saxon Switzerland), which is the only such annual event dedicated to the music and life of Dmitri Shostakovich.
Awards and Partner
At a ceremony in Brussels in 2007 the Staatskapelle Dresden became the first and so far only orchestra to be awarded the European Prize for the Preservation of the World’s Musical Heritage. In 2013 the Staatskapelle was named Orchestra of the Year by Opernwelt magazine.
Volkswagen’s Transparent Factory has been a partner of the Staatskapelle Dresden since 2008.