The Bayerisches Staatsorchester is one of the world’s oldest orchestras and has one of the richest traditions, being equally at home in the orchestra pit and the concert podium. Its origins as the orchestra of the Munich court can be traced back to the year 1523. The first well-known director of the ensemble in 1563 was Orlando di Lasso. While the focus was initially on ecclesiastical music, in the course of the 17th century it was increasingly joined by concerts of worldly music and opera performances. In the middle of the 18th century, regular opera service began which up until now has been one of the major functions of the symphony ensemble of the Bayerische Staatsoper. The premiere performances of Mozart’s “La finta giardiniera” and “Idomeneo” were soon to become its first highlights.
In 1811, the Society of the Musical Academy was founded by musicians from the court orchestra who created Munich’s first concert series with their Academy Concerts. Even today, the Musical Academy with its symphonic, chamber music and musical education activities is a characteristic component of musical life in Munich and Bavaria.
At national and international level as well, the Bayerisches Staatsorchester, which has borne its current name since 1918, has time and again maintained its reputation as a top orchestra in the framework of numerous music festivals and concert tours.
Among the many great composers with whom the orchestra was associated, the most significant was Richard Wagner. In 1865 Hans von Bülow conducted the premiere of “Tristan and Isolde” in Munich’s Nationaltheater. Wagner’s operas „Die “Meistersinger von Nürnberg”, “Das Rheingold” and “Die Walküre” all had their premieres in Munich as well. Many of the most important conductors of their time, from Richard Strauss to Bruno Walter and Hans Knappertsbusch and, most recently, Georg Solti, Joseph Keilberth, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Zubin Mehta and Kent Nagano, have led the orchestra as head conductor. There was also a close relationship with Carlos Kleiber who was a frequent guest on the podium between 1968 and 1997. Since the beginning of the 2013/2014 season, Kirill Petrenko, has led the orchestra as Bavarian General Music Director.
In the annual survey of 50 international critics conducted by the publication Opernwelt, the Bayerisches Staatsorchester has most recently been chosen orchestra of the year for the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 seasons.
As of June 2016