Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra


Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

Infobox musical artist
Name = Gewandhausorchester Leipzig


Background = classical_ensemble
Alias = Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Origin = flagicon|DEU Leipzig, Germany
Genre = Classical
Occupation = Symphony orchestra
Years_active = 1781-"present"
Associated_acts = Gewandhaus Octet
Gewandhaus Quartet
Gewandhaus Wind Quintet
URL = [http://www.gewandhausorchester.de www.gewandhausorchester.de]
Current_members = Gewandhauskapellmeister
Riccardo Chailly
Conductors Laureate
Kurt Masur
Herbert Blomstedt
Past_members = Founder
Johann Adam Hiller
Notable_instruments = Concert Organ
"Schuke", Potsdam IV-92-6638
The Gewandhausorchester Leipzig (Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra) is a famous German orchestra based in Leipzig, Germany. It is named after the concert hall in which it is based, the Gewandhaus ("Textiles Hall" - originally, a hall in the building that housed Leipzig's thriving textile trading floor). With 265 years of history, it is the oldest extant symphony orchestra in the world. [http://classicalmusic.about.com/od/symphonyfaq/f/oldestvenue.htm About.com: Classical Music] ]

History of the orchestra

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 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 use 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 suits.

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" .

Aside from its duties as a concert orchestra the ensemble also performs frequently in the Thomaskirche and as the official opera orchestra of the Leipzig Opera.

Later principal conductors included Arthur Nikisch, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, and Vaclav 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.

Music director (Gewandhauskapellmeister)

Conductors laureate

*1996-"present" Kurt Masur
*2005-"present" Herbert Blomstedt

References

*cite book | last=Bowen | first=José Antonio | coauthors= | title=The Cambridge Companion to Conducting |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=IyybWtv0Zw0C&dq | location=New York | publisher=Cambridge University Press | year=2003 | isbn=0521527910
*cite book | last=Kevorkian | first=Tanya | title=Baroque Piety: Religion, Society, and Music in Leipzig, 1650-1750 | location=Hampshire | publisher=Ashgate | year=2007| isbn=978-0-7546-5490-2

External links

* [http://www.gewandhausorchester.de/ Gewandhausorchester Leipzig official website]
* [http://www.chkr-gho.de/gewandhausorchester/index_g2.htm Gewandhausorchester Leipzig]
*
* [http://music.barnesandnoble.com/search/artistbio.asp?z=y&CTR=25575 Gewandhausorchester Leipzig] at Barnes & Noble


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