Performance Friday, April 19, 2013 | 8 PM

Staatskapelle Dresden

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
In 2010, Christian Thielemann and the Staatskapelle Dresden recorded Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8—often referred to as the “Apocalyptic” Symphony—to enthusiastic critical acclaim. Don’t miss your chance to hear this “venerable, remarkable orchestra” (The New York Times) in a rare New York appearance.


  • Staatskapelle Dresden
    Christian Thielemann, Principal Conductor


  • BRUCKNER Symphony No. 8 (ed. Robert Haas)


  • Staatskapelle Dresden

    In 2008, the Staatskapelle Dresden celebrated its 460th jubilee. Founded by Prince Elector Moritz von Sachsen in 1548, it is one of the oldest orchestras in the world and is steeped in tradition. Over its long history, many distinguished conductors and internationally celebrated instrumentalists have left their mark on this one-time court orchestra.

    Previous directors include Heinrich Schütz, Johann Adolf Hasse, Carl Maria von Weber, and Richard Wagner, who called the ensemble his "miraculous harp." The list of the orchestra's prominent conductors of the last 100 years includes Ernst von Schuch, Fritz Reiner, Fritz Busch, Karl Böhm, Joseph Keilberth, Rudolf Kempe, Otmar Suitner, Kurt Sanderling, Herbert Blomstedt, and Giuseppe Sinopoli. The orchestra was directed by Bernard Haitink from 2002 to 2004 and most recently by Fabio Luisi from 2007 to 2010. Christian Thielemann took up the post of principal conductor of the Staatskapelle in the 2012-2013 season. Sir Colin Davis has been the orchestra's conductor laureate since 1990. The current season also sees the introduction of the new position of principal guest conductor, the first holder of which will be Myung-Whun Chung.

    Richard Strauss and the Staatskapelle were closely linked for more than 60 years. Nine of the composer's operas were premiered in Dresden, including Salome, Elektra, and Der Rosenkavalier, and Strauss's Eine Alpensinfonie was dedicated to the orchestra.

    Countless other famous composers have written works either dedicated to the orchestra or first performed in Dresden. In 2007, the Staatskapelle reaffirmed this tradition by introducing the annual position of Capell-Compositeur, successively held by composers Isabel Mundry, Bernhard Lang, Rebecca Saunders, Johannes Maria Staud, and Lera Auerbach. The Capell-Compositeur for the 2012-2013 season is Hans Werner Henze.

    The Staatskapelle's home is the Semperoper, where it performs approximately 260 operas and ballets each season. In addition, the ensemble presents another 50 symphonic and chamber concerts in the opera house, as well as playing at various musical events in Dresden's Frauenkirche. As one of the world's most celebrated and popular symphony orchestras, the Staatskapelle regularly travels abroad to the world's leading classical venues.

    The Staatskapelle also does valuable work to support the local region: Since October 2008, it has been the patron orchestra of Meetingpoint Music Messiaen in the double city of Görlitz-Zgorzelec. In September 2010, the orchestra helped found the International Shostakovich Festival in Gohrisch (Saxon Switzerland), which is the only such annual event dedicated to the music and life of Shostakovich.

    At a ceremony in Brussels in 2007, the Staatskapelle became the first-and so far only- orchestra to be awarded the European Prize for the Preservation of the World's Musical Heritage.

    Christian Thielemann

    Born in Berlin, Christian Thielemann comes from a family of music lovers. He began his professional career in 1978 as a rehearsal pianist at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Following positions in Gelsenkirchen, Karlsruhe, and Hanover, he joined the conducting staff of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf in 1985. Three years later, he moved to Nuremberg to become Germany's youngest music director, then returned to the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1997, holding the position of music director there for seven years. Mr. Thielemann conducted the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra from 2004 to 2011. In the summer of 2012, he took up the baton as principal conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden.

    Mr. Thielemann's repertoire is extensive, ranging from Bach to Henze and Gubaidulina. His interpretations of German Romantic music, both in opera and on the concert stage, are regarded around the world as exemplary. Since his Bayreuth debut in the summer of 2000 (in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), his annual appearances have set new standards in conducting. He has been musical advisor to the Bayreuth Festival since 2010. At the Salzburg Festival of 2011, Mr. Thielemann directed a new, highly acclaimed production of Die Frau ohne Schatten.

    Mr. Thielemann's discography with Deutsche Grammophon encompasses numerous symphonic works and operas. Together with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, he has recorded a complete cycle of Beethoven's symphonies, released both on CD and DVD. To date, his recordings with the Staatskapelle include Bruckner's Eighth Symphony, Beethoven's Missa solemnis, the ZDF New Year's Eve Concerts of 2010 and 2011, Faust-related compositions by Wagner and Liszt, and Brahms's First Piano Concerto with Maurizio Pollini.

    Beginning in 2013, Mr. Thielemann will assume the position of artistic director of the Salzburg Easter Festival, and the Staatskapelle Dresden will become the festival orchestra.

    Made an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2011, Mr. Thielemann has also been awarded honorary doctorates by the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt Weimar and the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium).

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Bruckner's Symphony No. 8 (Finale. Feierlich, nicht schnell)
Staatskapelle Dresden | Christian Thielemann, Conductor

At a Glance

Bruckner's Eighth Symphony, the composer's last completed work in the genre, is regarded by Bruckner's admirers as his most monumental achievement—the symphony where he most completely attained the sublimity for which he was always searching. The Eighth was Bruckner's favorite as well, even though he struggled even more intensely than usual with rejections, revisions, and self-doubts. The work is in the usual four movements, but the architecture is so daring and the mysticism so uncompromising that listeners were initially put off, just as orchestras resisted Bruckner's huge reach and ferocious technical difficulties. The controversial premiere by the Vienna Philharmonic was largely successful, but as with other mature Bruckner symphonies, performances were rare until the recent Bruckner boom. The Eighth was only played two more times during Bruckner's lifetime and was not performed in America until 1909. Recently, however, maestros from Karajan to Boulez have taken up Bruckner's cause, and epic works like the Eighth are enjoying a revival similar to that experienced by the similarly large-scale symphonies of Mahler.
Program Notes
The Trustees of Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Fried in support of the 2012-2013 season.
Funding for the Carnegie Hall Live broadcast series is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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