Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
|Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra|
|Principal conductor||Riccardo Chailly|
The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra (Gewandhausorchester Leipzig; sometimes simply referred to as Gewandhausorchester) is one of the oldest symphony orchestras in the world. It is named after the concert hall in which it is based, the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Germany.
The orchestra's origins can be traced to 1743, when a society called the Grosses Concert began performing in private homes. In 1744 the Grosses Concert moved its concerts to the "Three Swans" Tavern. Their concerts continued at this venue for 36 years, until 1781. In 1780, because of complaints about concert conditions and audience behavior in the tavern, the mayor and city council of Leipzig offered to renovate one story of the Gewandhaus (the building used by textile merchants) for the orchestra's use. The motto Res severa est verum gaudium ("a serious concern is true pleasure", or "true pleasure is a serious business" – from the Roman author Seneca) was painted in the hall, suggesting the priorities of the sponsors. The orchestra gave its first concert in the Gewandhaus in 1781. The orchestra thus has a good claim to being the oldest continuing orchestra in Germany founded by bourgeoisie, while older orchestras were part of royal suites.
In 1835 the great composer Felix Mendelssohn became the orchestra's music director, with the traditional title of Gewandhauskapellmeister; he held the position until his death in 1847 with only one year's interruption. In 1885, the orchestra moved into a new hall. This was destroyed by bombing in 1944. The present Gewandhaus is the third building with the name. It was opened in 1981. The large organ in the hall bears the original Gewandhaus hall's motto "Res severa verum gaudium" .
Later principal conductors included Arthur Nikisch, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, and Václav Neumann. From 1970 to 1996, Kurt Masur was Gewandhauskapellmeister, and he and the orchestra made a number of recordings for the Philips label. From 1998 to 2005, Herbert Blomstedt held the same position, and they in turn made several recordings for the Decca label.
In 2005, Riccardo Chailly took over as both Gewandhauskapellmeister and music director of the Leipzig Opera. They have released recordings on the Decca label of Felix Mendelssohn, Johannes Brahms, and the Robert Schumann symphonies in the re-orchestrations by Gustav Mahler.
In 2011, Chailly and the orchestra recorded a complete cycle of Ludwig van Beethoven's 9 symphonies on Decca, and supported the disc by playing the complete cycle in Leipzig, the Salle Pleyel in Paris and the Barbican Centre in London.
Music director (Gewandhauskapellmeister) 
Conductors laureate 
- 1996–present Kurt Masur
- 2005–present Herbert Blomstedt
- Bowen, José Antonio (2003). The Cambridge Companion to Conducting. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-52791-0.
- Kevorkian, Tanya (2007). Baroque Piety: Religion, Society, and Music in Leipzig, 1650–1750. Hampshire: Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-5490-2.
- Gewandhausorchester Leipzig official website
- Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
- Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra at Allmusic
- Gewandhausorchester Leipzig at Barnes & Noble