Meiningen Court Orchestra

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The Meiningen Court Orchestra (German: Hofkapelle) is one of the oldest and most traditional orchestras in Europe. The now 68-member orchestra is part of the Meininger Theater and in addition to their performances at opera performances regularly give symphony concerts and youth concerts. The music director (GMD) since 2010 is Philippe Bach.

The court orchestra was founded in 1690 by Duke Bernhard I. With the departure of Emil Büchner as court music director in October 1880, the most successful period of the chapel began, when it developed into an elite European orchestra under the direction of Hans von Bülow. Bülow brought Johannes Brahms to Meiningen to cooperate with the court orchestra and to occasionally conduct. In a letter to Georg II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, Brahms wrote "Bülow must know that the smallest rehearsal in the smallest Meiningen hall is more important to me than any Paris or London concert, and ...how good and comfortable I feel amidst the orchestra, I could sing aloud a long song of praise about it..."

Timeline of musical directors[edit]

World premier of works[edit]

  • Brahms – Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op.98 (October 25, 1885)
  • Strauss – Suite in Bb major (suite for wind) Op. 4 (November 18, 1884)

Notable Instrumentalists[edit]