With its tradition dating back to the late 16th century, the Staatskapelle Berlin is one of the oldest orchestras in the world. Founded in 1742 as the Kurbrandenburgische Hofkapelle and further developed as the Königlich Preußische Hofkapelle, the ensemble has been firmly associated with the opera house Unter den Linden in Berlin. Important personalities have led the opera company as well as the orchestra's regular concert series since 1842: conductors such as Gaspare Spontini, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Felix von Weingartner, Richard Strauss, Erich Kleiber, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Herbert von Karajan, Franz Konwitschny and Otmar Suitner have shaped the playing and sound culture of the Staatskapelle Berlin throughout its history.
Since 1992, Daniel Barenboim has been General Music Director of the Staatskapelle Berlin, and in 2000 the orchestra elected him as conductor for life. Numerous guest appearances in Europe, Israel, Japan and China, as well as in North and South America, have repeatedly demonstrated the outstanding position of the Staatskapelle Berlin. The performance of all of Beethoven's symphonies and piano concertos in Vienna, Paris, London, New York and Tokyo as well as the cycles of symphonies by Schumann and Brahms, the presentation of all of Richard Wagner's great stage works on the occasion of the Staatsoper FESTTAGE 2002 and the three performances of Wagner's "Ring des Nibelungen" in Japan were among the outstanding events. During the FESTTAGE 2007, a ten-part Mahler cycle followed under the direction of Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez in the Berlin Philharmonie, which was also performed in the Vienna Musikverein and in New York's Carnegie Hall. Further highlights have included a nine-part Bruckner cycle, also in Vienna in June 2012, and concert performances of Wagner's "Ring" at the London Proms in summer 2013. The acclaimed Bruckner cycle was also presented in 2016/17 at Suntory Hall Tokyo, Carnegie Hall New York and the Philharmonie de Paris. Numerous CD and DVD recordings, operas and symphonies, document the high artistic quality of the Staatskapelle Berlin. Recent recordings include all nine Bruckner symphonies and the four Brahms symphonies under the direction of Daniel Barenboim, as well as recordings of the piano concertos by Chopin, Liszt and Brahms and symphonic works and instrumental concertos by Strauss, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák and Elgar. Recordings of staged productions of Wagner's "Tannhäuser" and "Parsifal", Verdi's "Il Trovatore", Berg's "Lulu", Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Tsar's Bride" and Schumann's "Scenes from Goethe's Faust" have also been published. On the occasion of its 450th anniversary, a CD edition with historical and current recordings was released, and this special anniversary was also accompanied by a book publication and an exhibition on the history of the orchestra.
As of June 2021