The Leipzig Gewandhausorchester is a German orchestra based in Leipzig, Germany. It is named after the concert hall in which it is based, the Gewandhaus.
The orchestra has a good claim to being the oldest continuing musical performing organization in Europe. In the early 19th century, Felix Mendelssohn was the kapellmeister.
Later principal conductors included Arthur Nikisch, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, Vaclav Neumann, and from 1970 to 1996 Kurt Masur. In 1998, Herbert Blomstedt took over the post until 2005 and will be succeeded by Riccardo Chailly.
As home to the Gewandhausorchester, the city of Leipzig possesses an orchestra of the highest world renown — one with an extraordinarily illustrious heritage spanning 275 years. In March 1743, sixteen Leipzig merchants founded a concert society, which was to shape musical history. Today, the Gewandhausorchester thrills and inspires music lovers the world over with both its passion for music and its unique, unmistakable sound.
Alongside its 70 symphonic Große Concerte per season, the Gewandhausorchester performs as the orchestra both of the Leipzig Opera — a role it has fulfilled for over 200 years — and of St. Thomas‘s Church, performing the music of JS Bach each week with the celebrated Thomanerchor. In addition, the Orchestra gives approximately 35 concerts per season all around the globe, and is documented on countless recordings. The unique diversity of the Gewandhausorchester‘s activities is a fundamental factor of Leipzig‘s international renown as ‚City of Music‘.