Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig © Gert MothesOrchestra
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 The Gewandhausorchester is the oldest civic symphony orchestra in the world. The enterprise was founded in 1743 by a group of 16 musical philanthropists – representatives of the nobility as well as regular citizens - forming a concert society by the name of Das Große Concert. On taking residence in the trading house of the city's textile merchants (the "Gewandhaus") in 1781, the ensemble assumed the name "Gewandhausorchester". Many celebrated musicians have been appointed to the office of Gewandhauskapellmeister (Music Director and Principal Conductor), including Johann Adam Hiller, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Arthur Nikisch and Kurt Masur. After his inauguration in 2005, Riccardo Chailly's phenomenally successful tenure as Gewandhauskapellmeister came to an end in 2016. Andris Nelsons will assume the position of Gewandhauskapellmeister in the 2017/2018 season.



Music lovers worldwide revere the highly individual sound palette that distinguishes the Gewandhausorchester from all other symphony orchestras. This unique sound identity, along with the extraordinarily rich diversity of the repertoire which the Gewandhausorchester performs, is cultivated in over 200 performances each year in the Orchestra's three "homes": as concert orchestra in the Gewandhaus, orchestra of the Leipzig Opera and orchestra for the weekly performances of the cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach with the Thomanerchor in St. Thomas's Church. No other elite symphony orchestra dedicates itself so intensively to the performance of the music of J.S. Bach.


The Gewandhausorchester has toured the globe on a regular basis since 1916 and enjoys almost unparalleled presence in the media of radio, television, CD and DVD.


Few other ensembles have exerted such significant and enduring influence on the development of the symphonic music tradition as the Gewandhausorchester. Throughout its history, the Orchestra has consistently attracted the collaborative energies of the world's most eminent composers, conductors and soloists. The Gewandhausorchester performed a complete cycle of the symphonies of Beethoven during his lifetime (1825/26), as well as the first ever cycle of Bruckner's symphonies to be mounted (1919/20). Wagner's Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto Emperor, Brahms' Violin Concerto and Deutsches Requiem and Bruckner's 7th Symphony are just a fraction of the wealth of the core symphonic repertoire to be given its first performance by the Gewandhausorchester. The Orchestra commissions and premieres new works each season to this day.


A decisive contribution to the development of the symphonic repertoire must be attributed to the celebrated Gewandhauskapellmeister, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. During his tenure from 1835 until 1847, he presided over the first performances of numerous works from his own pen, for instance the Violin Concerto, the Scottish Symphony and his Overture to Ruy Blas, as well as the world premieres of many works of  other composers, including Schubert's C major Symphony The Great and Schumann's 1st, 2nd and 4th symphonies. By the introduction of new programming concepts – highly innovative for the time - Mendelssohn sharpened the Gewandhaus audiences' awareness of the music of times past, most notably reviving the performance of the orchestral oeuvre of J.S. Bach.


It was on Mendelssohn's initiative that Germany's first conservatoire was founded, in Leipzig, in 1843 - the modern day University of Music and Theatre "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy". Following the principles established by Mendelssohn himself, the Gewandhausorchester and University collaborate in the form of the Mendelssohn Orchestra Academy, offering the most talented young musicians the opportunity to hone their skills to the level required by the world's elite orchestras. Graduates of the Orchesterakademie receive a master's degree from the University.


The CD recordings which document the ever-evolving collaboration between the Gewandhausorchester and Riccardo Chailly have been decorated with the most coveted international awards, including a Golden Disc: complete cycles of the symphonies of Schumann, Brahms and Beethoven; a Gershwin album with Stefano Bollani; Bach's piano concertos, Christmas Oratorio, St. Matthew Passion and the Brandenburg Concertos; Brahms' piano concertos with Nelson Freire; Mendelssohn's Lobgesang und "Mendelssohn Discoveries". The project to record the complete cycle of the symphonies of Gustav Mahler on DVD (Accentus) will reach its conclusion in 2016. Herbert Blomstedt recorded the complete symphonies of Anton Bruckner 2005-2012 for CD (Querstand) - performances which have already achieved reference status. Blomstedt, Conductor Laureate of the Gewandhausorchester, is currently in the process of recording a complete cycle of the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven with the Orchestra, to be released in July 2017 to mark the occasion of his 90th birthday. Andris Nelsons, the new Gewandhauskapellmeister, will record the complete symphonies of Anton Bruckner with the Gewandhausorchester (Deutsche Grammophon), starting the project with the release of Symphony Nr. 3 in spring 2017.


SEASON 2017/2018

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May. 2017, Deutsche Grammophon (Universal Music), CD, Available on: iTunes AmazonSpotify


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