Today’s Staatskapelle Berlin was first mentioned in 1570 as the “Kurbrandenburgische Hofkapelle,” making it one of the oldest orchestras in the world. The opera and symphony orchestra has been based out of the Unter den Linden opera house since 1742. In the course of history, the orchestra has experienced many glorious moments and incredible musical highlights shaped by conductors including Richard Strauss, Erich Kleiber, Wilhelm Furtwängler and Herbert von Karajan and, since 1992, General Music Director Daniel Barenboim. In Berlin, a center of German history, the Staatskapelle Berlin experienced historical upheavals firsthand, and had to endure many turbulent and gloomy decades in the last century alone, with two world wars and the division of the city. The reunification of Germany and the change of Berlin to the capital were other exciting chapters for the Staatskapelle. Today Berlin is international, diverse, and constantly on the move, just like the Staatskapelle Berlin: the orchestra currently has 131 members, with musicians aged 20 to 64 years, from Belgium, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Germany, Finland, Great Britain, Japan, Cuba, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Romania, Spain, South Korea, Hungary, and the USA.
The Staatskapelle Berlin not only significantly shapes the musical life of Berlin, but it is also in demand as a cultural ambassador internationally, with numerous guest appearances touring Europe, Australia, North and South America as well as China and Japan.
The Staatskapelle Berlin in 2020
Even after the COVID-19-related cessation of regular play in March 2020, the longest break since 1713, the orchestra has not given up playing for people in the city. From online concerts in the empty Staatsoper to “court concerts” with smaller formations in Berlin backyards, the Staatskapelle Berlin found creative alternatives for the classical symphony concert in large halls.
The Staatskapelle Berlin is now looking forward to being there live for its audience again, albeit with limited space for the time being. The start of the 2020-2021 season is all about the anniversary: In addition to Staatsoper for All on September 6, the Beethoven cycle is on the program under the musical direction of Daniel Barenboim (August 31 and September 2, 3 and 4). The gala concert “450 Years of the Staatskapelle Berlin” will take place on September 11th, also conducted by General Music Director Daniel Barenboim. On September 12th, a birthday party for the orchestra will follow, which has been adapted to the applicable safety measures. On this special “Day for the Staatskapelle Berlin,” the musicians can be seen in changing formations with free admission. Counting cards are required and will be issued from September 1st. The anniversary will be flanked through an exhibition on “450 Years of the Staatskapelle Berlin,” among other events. Further information and tickets: www.staatskapelle-berlin.de.