The Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden (Saxon State Orchestra, Dresden, commonly known as Staatskapelle Dresden) is an orchestra based in Dresden, Germany founded in 1548 by Kurfürst Moritz (Elector Moritz, or Maurice) of Saxony. It is one of the world's oldest orchestras. The precursor ensemble was Die Kurfürstlich-Sächsische und Königlich-Polnische Kapelle (The Saxony Elector and Royal Polish Chapel). The orchestra is the musical body of the Sächsische Staatsoper (Saxon State Opera). Venue of the orchestra is the Semperoper opera house.
The orchestra has had many eminent chief conductors. In its early years, Heinrich Schütz was associated with it, and in the nineteenth century Carl Maria von Weber and Richard Wagner were both chief conductors. In the twentieth century, Richard Strauss became closely associated with it, as both a conductor and a composer, with several of his works being premiered by the ensemble. 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.
Giuseppe Sinopoli was chief conductor from 1992 until his sudden death in 2001. In August 2002, Bernard Haitink took up the post, until his resignation in 2004 over disputes with the Staatskapelle's Intendant, Gerd Uecker, on the orchestra's choice of successor. In August 2007 Fabio Luisi began his tenure as chief conductor, having been named to the post in 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, as of the October 2009 announcement of Christian Thielemann as the orchestra's next chief conductor, effective with the 2012-2013 season. However, Luisi resigned from the Staatskapelle chief conductorship in February 2010, with immediate effect, after reports that the Staatskapelle's 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.
In 2007 the orchestra inaugurated the post of Capell-Compositeur or composer-in-residence, each appointed composer holding the post for one concert season. The first Capell-Compositeur was Isabel Mundry, and the current holder of the post is the British composer Rebecca Saunders.
In April 2007, the orchestra became the first orchestra ever to be awarded the "Prize of the European Culture Foundation for the Preservation of the World’s Musical Heritage". The editors-in-chief of nine European music magazines elected the Staatskapelle Dresden as one of the top five orchestras in Europe.
Kapellemeisters and Chief Conductors:
1548–1554 Johann Walter
1555–1568 Mattheus Le Maistre
1568–1580 Antonio Scandello
1580–1584 Giovanni Battista Pinelli
1587–1619 Rogier Michael
1615–1672 Heinrich Schütz (Hofkapellmeister)
1654–1680 Vincenzo Albrici
1656–1680 Giovanni Andrea Bontempi
1666–1688 Carlo Pallavicini
1688–1700 Nicolaus Adam Strungk (Hofkapellmeister)
1697–1728 Johann Christoph Schmidt (Hofkapellmeister)
1717–1719 Antonio Lotti
1717–1729 Johann David Heinichen
1725–1733 Giovanni Alberto Ristori
1733–1763 Johann Adolph Hasse (Hofkapellmeister)
1776–1801 Johann Gottlieb Naumann (Hofkapellmeister)
1802–1806 Ferdinando Paer (Hofkapellmeister)
1810–1841 Francesco Morlacchi (Hofkapellmeister)
1816–1826 Carl Maria von Weber (Hofkapellmeister)
1826–1859 Carl Gottlieb Reißiger (Hofkapellmeister)
1843–1848 Richard Wagner (Hofkapellmeister)
1850–1880 Carl August Krebs
1874–1877 Julius Rietz
1877–1884 Franz Wüllner
1884–1914 Ernst von Schuch
1914–1921 Fritz Reiner
1922–1933 Fritz Busch
1934–1943 Karl Böhm
1943–1944 Karl Elmendorff
1945–1950 Joseph Keilberth
1949–1953 Rudolf Kempe
1953–1955 Franz Konwitschny
1956–1958 Lovro von Matačić
1960–1964 Otmar Suitner
1964–1967 Kurt Sanderling
1966–1968 Martin Turnovský
1975–1985 Herbert Blomstedt
1985–1990 Hans Vonk
1992–2001 Giuseppe Sinopoli
2002–2004 Bernard Haitink
2007–2010 Fabio Luisi
2007–2008 Isabel Mundry
2008–2009 Bernhard Lang
2009–2010 Rebecca Saunders
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