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About Gewandhausorchester

The Gewandhausorchester Leipzig is one of Germany’s oldest orchestras, and performs in a style rich in heritage and tradition. The ensemble was founded in 1743 as the Grosses Concert, a small orchestra supported by private sponsorship. In 1780, the orchestra took up residence in the upper floor of a textile merchant’s; Gewandhaus means “clothing house” in German. In 1789, Mozart performed with the orchestra in its new venue. Felix Mendelssohn became the music director in 1835, taking the traditional title of Gewandhauskapellmeister. Later, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Grieg and Richard Strauss all conducted their own works with the orchestra. After the Second World War, Leipzig became part of the GDR (East Germany). Kurt Masur navigated the orchestra through the difficult last decades of this era (1970-96), and oversaw the building of a new concert hall in 1981, the third building to be named Gewandhaus. Since then, Herbert Blomstedt, Riccardo Chailly and Andris Nelsons have led the ensemble. Each has recorded extensively, with Austro-German Romantics—Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Bruckner, Mahler—dominating the orchestra’s catalogue. The orchestra regularly performs the sacred music of Bach at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, where Bach himself served as choir director. It is also the official orchestra of the Leipzig Opera, where it particularly excels in the operas of Wagner and Strauss.

Leipzig, Germany
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