Weimar Staatskapelle (SKW)

The Staatskapelle Weimar, founded in 1491, is one of the oldest, most illustrious orchestras in the world and is closely associated to some of the world’s best known musicians and works. In 1756, Duchess Anna Amalia made the orchestra the primary musical institution of ‘Classical Weimar’.

Thanks to the influence of Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, a number of prominent musical figures of the 19th century, including Mozart’s former student Johann Nepomuk Hummel, were appointed to lead the orchestra.

The famous musician, Franz Liszt, served as Hofkapellmeister from 1848 to 1858 and produced the world premieres of numerous contemporary pieces, such as Wagner’s “Lohengrin” (1850), which he helped make an international success.

Richard Strauss served as second Kapellmeister from 1889 to 1894 and produced the world premieres of his own “Guntram” and Humperdinck’s „Hansel and Gretel“. Under his direction, the court orchestra also performed the world premieres of his orchestral works “Don Juan”, “Macbeth” and “Death and Transfiguration”.

In 1919 the orchestra was renamed the “Weimarian State Orchestra”. Following the calamitous events of World War II, the conductor Hermann Abendroth re-established the Staatskapelle Weimar to its former grandeur and quality, making it one of Germany’s leading orchestras.

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