The Dessau Orchestra
The Dessau Orchestra counts as one of the oldest and most tradition-steeped orchestras in Saxony-Anhalt. The orchestra stems from 1766, when Friedrich Wilheim Rust took over the court orchestra. Since 1794, when a theatre company was permanently engaged in Dessau, the orchestra has played an important part in musical productions of all genres, and since 1798 in the court theatre built by Erdmannsdorff.
Meritorious musical directors in the 19th century included Friedrich Schneider, Eduard Thiele and Augustus Klughardt. The latter two laid the foundation of the Wagner tradition in Dessau. 12 musicians from Dessau played in the first Bayreuth Festival orchestra in 1876. In the first half of the 20th century personalities such as Franz Mikorey, Hans Knappertsbusch, Franz von Hoesslin, Athur Rother and Helmut Seidelmann shaped, as principal conductors, the Dessau orchestra. Seidelmann was on the podium when the new theatre was opened in 1938 with a production of Freischütz. He also conducted a production of The Magic Flute in 1949 when the theatre re-opened after war-time destruction and subsequent reconstruction. Under the directorship of Dr. Heinz Röttger (musical director from 1954 to 1977), outstanding artistic experiences such as the Wagner Festival were created. His successors put their own mark on the traditional repertoire of Wagner-Verdi-Strauss-Slavic composers. Since 1992, under the name of the Anhaltische Philharmonie Dessau, the orchestra has undertaken external engagements (for example repeat performances at the "Classic Open Air" on Berlin's Gendarmenmarkt, concerts in the Konzerthaus Berlin, a tour with tenor Jose Cura and a tour of Japan with operas Salome and The Flying Dutchman) and radio broadcasts and CD recordings attest to the orchestra's nationwide reputation. In August 2009, Dutchman Antony Hermus succeeded Golo Berg to the position of Principal Conductor and Music Director.
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