Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

The Gewandhaus Orchestra (formerly called itself the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra ) is a symphony orchestra based in Leipzig. It is one of the world's leading orchestras, and is currently with about 185 professional musicians as the world's largest professional orchestra. At the same time, it is the oldest civic concert orchestra in Germany. The chief conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra traditionally carry the title " Gewandhaus Orchestra ".


The historical roots of the Gewandhaus Orchestra dates back to the year 1479, when the Council of the City of Leipzig for the musical accompaniment of urban festivals, and later also for church and theater arts Pfeifer (later Stadtpfeifer ) hired. 1743 financed 16 Leipzig merchants 16 musicians who belonged among others Stadtpfeifer, establishing a musical society, the Leipzig Concert, their first concert was held on March 11, 1743. Therefore, the Gewandhaus Orchestra ie non- courtly concert orchestra in the German-speaking area is considered the oldest of the bourgeoisie outgrown. Initially the concerts were held in community centers, rather than later because of the great interest, the Gasthof Schwanen to drey am Brühl 84 (later No. 7). The name Grand Concert was familiar, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra concerts are named today.

On the initiative of the incumbent Mayor of the attic of the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the exhibition house for cloth merchants was 1780-1781 (now there is the Municipal department store ) rebuilt into a representative concert hall. In November, the first Gewandhaus concert took place. 1782, this hall was rebuilt again. At the front of the hall the spell of the younger Seneca Res severa est verum gaudium was to read ( True joy is a serious thing ), which became the motto of the Gewandhaus Orchestra. The orchestra now had its first permanent home. In the 32 -strong orchestra also played at the theater committed musicians what the name Gewandhaus and theater orchestra " established. Several members of the orchestra were also committed to the city pipers for church music. 1840, the orchestra has been recognized as a city orchestra and was from then on for the Church Music responsibility. Since that time, the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig Opera acts as Orchestra, a concert orchestra and as a church among other things, musical orchestra to accompany the Thomanerchores.

Leipzig's reputation as a city of music is due in part to the work of the Gewandhaus Orchestra. Many important musical works found by the orchestra premiered, excellent national and international soloists appeared in the Old Gewandhaus, as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Robert Schumann, Clara Wieck, Carl Maria von Weber, Niccolò Paganini, Franz Liszt, Hector Berlioz, Frédéric Chopin, Gewandhaus Orchestra Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Richard Wagner and Johannes Brahms.

1868, the new theater was inaugurated on Augustus Square, after the old comedy house had become too small. This enabled rich ausgestattetere operas are performed. After the extensions of the Gewandhaus not sufficient due to the visitor rush on and the grown Orchestra, the New Concert House was (also new Gewandhaus ) is hereby established between Beethoven and Mozart Street, in which the Gewandhaus Orchestra moved in 1884. To the New Gewandhaus around arose in the aftermath a new district that so-called music district. The Neues Gewandhaus, in addition to the great had a chamber music hall, became world- famous for its excellent acoustics; this resulted in a preserved until today ( enlarged ) copy of the building was built as a concert hall in Boston. In this concert house had, inter alia, Johannes Brahms, Peter Tchaikovsky, Edvard Grieg, Richard Strauss and Anton Bruckner. When large air raid in 1943 the New Concert House was hit by bombs and burned out. The caring of the orchestra spent waiting in the basement orchestra 's musical instruments were preserved. The externally intact and secured with a temporary roof ruins were demolished in March 1968. Also, the new theater was destroyed during the bombing.

After 1945 to 1984 the Gewandhaus Orchestra has performed in a variety show at first, then in a movie theater, from 1947 at the Congress Hall on the Pfaffendorferstraße. After 1960, the New Leipzig Opera House was inaugurated in 1977 began the construction of a new Gewandhaus on the opposite side of the Augustus square. 1981 by Rudolf Skoda designed ( with Eberhard Göschel, Volker victory and Winfried Sziegoleit ) Concert Hall was inaugurated in which the Gewandhaus Orchestra since then has its seat. The construction of a new orchestra reasonable, own venue is due in particular to the strong commitment of the then Gewandhaus Orchestra Kurt Masur, who is the only new construction of a pure concert hall in the GDR prevailed in the GDR leadership.

The Gewandhaus Orchestra is today to be among the most prestigious orchestras in the world. His reputation is based by the outstanding musical quality, which was coined by renowned conductor, and also by numerous guest appearances and tours worldwide, especially in Japan and North America.

The Gewandhaus Orchestra currently has three regular venues in Leipzig. In Gewandhaus there are annually 48 symphony concerts, 12 chamber music and 20 special concerts. In the Leipzig Opera, it acts as the orchestra of the opera house. In the Thomas church acts as a companion to the appearances of Thomanerchores.

Members of the orchestra play in also very traditional chamber music ensembles, the Gewandhaus Quartet (founded in 1808), the Gewandhaus Wind Quintet (founded in 1896) or the Gewandhaus Brass Quintet was founded in 2005.

The chief conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra traditionally carry the title of the Gewandhaus Orchestra. The list of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra can be found in the navigation bar at the end of the article. Since 2005, Riccardo Chailly has held this position.

In the Annual Report 2012 of the Saxon Court, the growing costs are criticized.

Sound characteristics

The sound of the Gewandhaus Orchestra is distinguished by a dark, romantic embossed string sound. Funded and passed this sound ideal is through the teaching of members of the Gewandhaus Orchestra at the Academy of Music and Theatre " Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy " Leipzig since the mid-19th century. Was particularly marked and preserved the so-called " Gewandhaus sound " under Kurt Masur. Mixed is this sound with the German plate, especially in the trombones, and in particular the German clarinets. Another rarity is the making of music in German lineup.

Premieres (selection)

  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Triple Concerto (1808 )
  • Clara Schumann, Piano Concerto in A minor, Op 7 (1835 )
  • Franz Schubert, Grand Symphony in C major (1839 )
  • Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Scottish Symphony (1842 )
  • Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 1 " Spring Symphony " (1841 )
  • Johannes Brahms, A German Requiem (1869 )
  • Johannes Brahms, Violin Concerto in D major (1879 )
  • Richard Wagner's Meistersinger Prelude (1862 )
  • Siegfried Thiele, hymns to the Sun (1981 )
  • Alfred Schnittke, Symphony No. 3 (1981 )
  • Giya Kancheli, light sorrow (1986 )
  • Hans Werner Henze, Seconda Sonata per archi (1996 )

Honorary Conductor

  • Since 1996, Kurt Masur
  • Since 2005, Herbert Blomstedt