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 in Berlin. Following positions in Gelsenkirchen, Karlsruhe and Hanover he joined the conducting staff at the Rhine Opera in Dusseldorf in 1985. Three years later he became Germany's youngest music director in Nuremberg, before returning to the Deutsche Oper in Berlin in 1997, holding the position of music director there for seven years. Thielemann conducted the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra from 2004 to 2011. In the summer of 2012 he will take up the baton in Dresden as principal conductor to the Staatskapelle.
Christian 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. His Bayreuth debut came in 2000 (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), since when his annual appearances have set new standards in conducting. At the Salzburg Festival of 2011 Thielemann directs a new production of Die Frau ohne Schatten by Richard Strauss.
His lengthy 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, also released on DVD in autumn 2010. Up to now his releases with the Staatskapelle have included Bruckner's Eighth Symphony, Beethoven's Missa solemnis and a live recording of the 2010 ZDF New Year's Eve Concert from the Semperoper.
The Staatskapelle Dresden On 22nd September 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 steeped in tradition. Over its long history many distinguished conductors and internationally celebrated instrumentalists have left their mark on this onetime court orchestra. Previous directors include Heinrich Schutz, Johann Adolf Hasse, Carl Maria von Weber and Richard Wagner, who called the ensemble his "miraculous harp".
The list of prominent conductors of the last 100 years includes Ernst von Schuch, Fritz Reiner, Fritz Busch, Karl B？hm, Joseph Keilberth, Rudolf Kempe, Otmar Suitner, Kurt Sanderling, Herbert Blomstedt, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Bernard Haitink. Fabio Luisi was music director of Saxon State Opera and the Staatskapelle Dresden from 2007 to 2010. Christian Thielemann will assume the post of principal conductor to the Staatskapelle from 2012, and Sir Colin Davis has been the orchestra's conductor laureate since 1990.
Richard Strauss and the Staatskapelle were closely linked for more than sixty years. Nine of the composer's operas were premiered in Dresden, including Salome, Elektra and Der Rosenkavalier, while Strauss's Alpine Symphony was dedicated to the orchestra. Countless other famous composers have written works either premiered by the ensemble or dedicated to it. In 2007 the Staatskapelle reaffirmed this tradition by introducing the annual position of "Capell-Compositeur", subsequently held by composers Isabel Mundry, Bernhard Lang, Rebecca Saunders und Johannes Maria Staud. The Capell-Compositrice for the 2011/2012 season is Lera Auerbach.
The Staatskapelle's home is the Semperoper, where it performs around 260 operas and ballets each season. In addition the ensemble presents another 50 symphonic and chamber concerts in the opera house, as well as a concert series 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.
From 2013 onwards, the Staatskapelle Dresden will engage into a new artistic partnership with the Salzburg Easter Festival. Thereby, the Staatskapelle Dresden, together with Christian Thielemann as Artistic Director, will form the musical backbone of the festival. The Staatskapelle also does valuable work to support the local region: Since October 2008 it is the patron orchestra of Meetingpoint Music Messiaen in the twin city of Gorlitz/Zgorzelec. And in September 2010 the orchestra helped found the International Shostakovich Festival in Gohrisch (Saxon Switzerland), which is the only such annual event entirely dedicated to the music and life of Dmitri 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".