Christian Thielemann to take over in Dresden

Martin Cullingford14th Oct 2009

Christian Thielemann has been named as the new principal conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden.

The German conductor, currently music director of the Munich Philharmonic, will take up the role with the 2012/13 season. More information about his artistic ambitions with the orchestra – one of the oldest in the world, having been founded in 1548 – will be revealed at the formal signing next month.

Thielemann is a familiar figure to the musicians – he first conducted the orchestra in 2003, and his work at Bayreuth, where the Staatskapelle has provided the largest number of musicians in recent years, has also seen him working closely with many of them. He can next be heard on the Dresden podium in February, when he conducts Beethoven’s Missa solemnis.

“This appointment as next principal conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden is for me the fulfilment of a dream,” said Thielemann. “My mentor, Herbert von Karajan, compared the sound of this unique orchestra to ‘the lustre of old gold’, and I think that is the perfect description."

A representative of the board of musicians described Thielemann as “our preferred candidate”, while Sabine Freifrau von Schorlemer, Saxon Minister for Science and the Arts, also spoke of Thielemann’s “close identification with…Dresden’s tradition of music-making.” Steeped in German musical heritage, the Staatskapelle Dresden was described by Wagner as his “miraculous harp”, while Strauss had nine of his operas premiered in Dresden, including Salome, Elektra and Der Rosenkavalier, and dedicated the Alpine Symphony to the orchestra.

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