Staatskapelle Dresden

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Staatskapelle Dresden
LocationDresden, Germany
Concert hallSemperoper
Principal conductorChristian Thielemann

The Staatskapelle Dresden (known formally as the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden) is a German orchestra based in Dresden, the capital of Saxony. Founded in 1548 by Maurice, Elector of Saxony, it is one of the world's oldest and most highly regarded orchestras. Its precursor ensemble was Die Kurfürstlich-Sächsische und Königlich-Polnische Kapelle (The Electoral Saxon and Royal Polish Orchestra). The orchestra is the musical body of the Staatsoper Dresden (Dresden State Opera). The venue of the orchestra is the Semperoper.


Heinrich Schütz was associated with the orchestra early in its existence. In the nineteenth century, Carl Maria von Weber and Richard Wagner each served as Hofkapellmeister of the orchestra.

In the twentieth century, Richard Strauss became closely associated with the orchestra as both conductor and composer, which premiered several of his works. Karl Böhm and Hans Vonk were notable among the orchestra's chief conductors in that they served as chief conductors of both the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden and the State Opera simultaneously. Herbert Blomstedt was musical director of the Staatskapelle from 1975 to 1985, and now has the title of Ehrendirigent (honorary conductor) with the orchestra.

Giuseppe Sinopoli was chief conductor from 1992 until his sudden death in 2001. Bernard Haitink replaced him in August 2002, but resigned in 2004 over disputes with the Staatskapelle's Intendant, Gerd Uecker, on the orchestra's choice of successor.[1] In August 2007 Fabio Luisi began his tenure as chief conductor after having been appointed as far back as January 2004. He shared with Böhm and Vonk the historic distinction of being chief conductor of both the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden and the Sächsische Staatsoper simultaneously. Luisi was scheduled to step down as chief conductor in 2012 in accord with the October 2009 announcement of Christian Thielemann as the orchestra's next chief conductor, effective with the 2012–2013 season.[2] However, Luisi resigned as chief conductor of the Staatskapelle in February 2010, effective immediately, after reports that the management had secured a contract with the ZDF network for a scheduled televised concert on New Year's Eve 2011 without consulting him at all in his capacity as the orchestra's GMD.[3] Thielemann was initially contracted with the orchestra through 2019.[4] In November 2017, the orchestra announced the extension of Thielemann's contract as chief conductor through 31 July 2024.[5] In May 2021, Barbara Klepsch, the Culture Minister of Saxony, announced that Thielemann is to conclude his tenure with the Staatskapelle Dresden at the close of his current contract, at the end of July 2024.[6]

Sir Colin Davis held the title of 'conductor laureate' from 1990 until his death in 2013, the first and only to-date conductor to be granted this title by the orchestra.[7] The orchestra named Myung-Whun Chung as its first-ever principal guest conductor, effective as of the 2012–2013 season.[8]

In 2007, the orchestra inaugurated the post of Capell-Compositeur or composer-in-residence, with each appointed composer installed for one concert season. The first Capell-Compositeur was Isabel Mundry. Sofia Gubaidulina was Capell-Compositrice for the 2014–2015 and 2016–2017 seasons, the first composer to hold the title more than once. Arvo Pärt held the title of Capell-Compositeur for the 2017–2018 season. The orchestra featured Sinopoli as its Capell-Compostiteur for the 2020–2021 season as a posthumous tribute.

In April 2007, the European Cultural Foundation awarded the orchestra a prize "zur Bewahrung des musikalischen Weltkulturerbes" (for preservation of the world's musical heritage").[9] In June 2011, the orchestra was announced as the new resident orchestra of the Salzburg Easter Festival, as of 2013.[8]

In 2000, Daniele Gatti first guest-conducted the orchestra. In June 2022, the orchestra announced its election of Gatti as its next chief conductor, effective in 2024.[10]

The orchestra received the Herbert von Karajan Prize in 2022 and donated the prize money of 50,000 euros to the project Musaik – Grenzenlos musizieren.[11][12]

Kapellmeister and chief conductors[edit]



  1. ^ Andrew Clark (22 October 2004). "Bernard Haitink: unfinished symphony". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2007.
  2. ^ "Christian Thielemann wird Chefdirigent der Staatskapelle Dresden" (Press release). Staatskapelle Dresden. 9 October 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2009.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Daniel J. Wakin (4 February 2010). "Saxon State Opera's Music Director Quits". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  4. ^ "Bei der Staatskapelle Dresden beginnt die Thielemann-Ära". Die Zeit. 27 August 2012. Archived from the original on 2 December 2017. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Vertragsverlängerung von Christian Thielemann beschlossen" (Press release). Staatskapelle Dresden. 30 November 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Sächsische Staatskapelle: Vertrag mit Christian Thielemann wird nicht verlängert". MDR Kultur. 11 May 2021. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  7. ^ "Staatskapelle Concert plan 2012–13 p 16" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Staatskapelle Dresden to become orchestra for the Salzburg Easter Festival, and Christian Thielemann the festival's Artistic Director" (Press release). Staatskapelle Dresden. 8 June 2011. Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  9. ^ "Europäische Kulturpreisverleihung am 26. April 2007 in Brüssel", European Cultural Foundation, 31 December 2007 (in German)
  10. ^ "Staatskapelle Dresden wählt Daniele Gatti zum Chefdirigenten" (Press release). Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden. 21 June 2022. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  11. ^ Neue Musikzeitung from 28 October 2022. retrieved 30 July 2023.
  12. ^ "Dresdner Staatskapelle erhält Karajan-Preis". Westdeutscher Rundfunk (in German). 13 April 2022. Retrieved 6 February 2023.
  13. ^ Ernst, Michael (1 March 2018). "Neue Saison ohne Überraschungen". Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten (in German). Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  14. ^ Keuk, Alexander (18 November 2019). "Capell-Compositeur Aribert Reimann im Gespräch". Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten (in German). Dresden. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  15. ^ "Composer-in-Residence". Staatskapelle Dresden. 10 November 2020. Retrieved 31 December 2020.

External links[edit]