Bavarian State Orchestra

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Bavarian State Orchestra
Bavarian State Orchestra Logo.png
official logo
Founded 1523
Principal conductor Kirill Petrenko
Website www.staatsorchester.de

The Bavarian State Orchestra (German: Bayerisches Staatsorchester) is the orchestra of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Germany. It has given its own series of concerts, the Akademiekonzerte, since 1811.

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On December 9, 2011, this ensemble celebrated the 200th anniversary of its first concert as a full symphony orchestra, and specifically the founding (in 1811) of the Musikalische Akademie.

Its origins stretch back, however, to 1523 and the times of composer Ludwig Senfl, when sacred music was the focus of work. The musicians achieved renown across Europe, the more so after 1563 and the appointment of Belgian master polyphonist Orlande de Lassus as maestro di cappella.

In 1653 the first opera performances took place in Munich, adding to and greatly realigning the musicians' activities. In 1762 the ensemble was titled Hoforchester: orchestra to the Bavarian Court, a position it already effectively held. Sixteen years later, just after Karl Theodor of Mannheim became Duke of Bavaria and shifted his court to Munich, 33 musicians of the famous Mannheim orchestra — the prototype of all modern symphony orchestras — followed their boss, injecting new levels of precision into the Hoforchester.

In 1781 Mozart conducted the musicians in the world premiere of his opera Idomeneo, written in Munich. During the 1860s the orchestra, by then an integral part of the Hofoper (Court Opera), gave the world premieres of the Wagner operas Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Tristan und Isolde, and Das Rheingold, followed in 1870 by Die Walküre. Hans von Bülow was active as conductor at that time. Upon the German Revolution of 1918–1919 the name changed again, to its present form, reflecting the demise of the Bavarian monarchy.

The Bavarian State Orchestra is today part of the Bavarian State Opera company, Germany's largest, which it serves as pit ensemble, based in Munich's Nationaltheater. Its main conductor has the title of Generalmusikdirektor of the company. Richard Strauss, Bruno Walter, Hans Knappertsbusch, Clemens Krauss, Ferenc Fricsay, Joseph Keilberth, and Wolfgang Sawallisch have served in this position. The orchestra had a long and successful cooperation (1968–1997) with Carlos Kleiber, though he never served as GMD. Zubin Mehta held the post, from 1998 to 2006. He was succeeded by Kent Nagano, who was replaced by Kirill Petrenko in September 2013.

The orchestra is one of seven (7) such professional bodies in the city of Munich, its neighbors being: the Orchester des Staatstheaters am Gärtnerplatz, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Münchner Rundfunkorchester (a second radio ensemble), the Munich Philharmonic (operated by the City at its controversial Gasteig venue), the Munich Symphony Orchestra, and the smaller-scale "MKO" or Münchener Kammerorchester.

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