Anhalt Philharmonic

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The Anhaltische Philharmonie is the orchestra at the Anhaltisches Theater Dessau . Since the 2016/2017 season, Markus L. Frank has succeeded the Dutch conductor Antony Hermus, who had previously been in office since 2009, as Chief Conductor of the Anhalt Philharmonic and General Music Director of the Anhalt Theater.

Today’s Anhalt Philharmonic Hall celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2016. In the same year she was awarded the Music Prize of the State of Saxony-Anhalt .


The beginnings of the former court chapel go back to 1766, when Friedrich Wilhelm Rust started building a court chapel at the request of Prince Leopold Friedrich Franz von Anhalt-Dessau . While there were hardly more than a dozen permanent members at the time, their number increased over the next few years, so that demanding concerts that went beyond the scope of the usual court music could be held. For example, on Good Friday 1768, Carl Heinrich Graun's Passion Oratorio “The Death of Jesus” was played in the Johanniskirche, and on January 3, 1770, Rust and his band opened a series of concerts for lovers for a subscription and admission. In 1775 Rust was appointed "Princely Music Director". Since 1794, the year a theater company was permanently engaged in Dessau, the musicians have formed the basis for musical theater performances of all genres . At an early stage, people in Dessau advocated the work of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart .

In 1820, Friedrich Schneider, known as an oratorio composer, was hired as a new conductor for the ducal court orchestra. In the 33 years of his activity there were important first opera performances (including Beethoven , Weber , Rossini , Lortzing ), the creation of the Anhalt Music Festival tradition and the legendary virtuoso concert by Niccolò Paganini in 1829.

Eduard Thiele, Schneider's student and his successor as court conductor in 1853, became the founder of the Dessau Wagner tradition (1857 Tannhäuser , 1867 Lohengrin , 1869 Meistersinger ). Personal encounters between Wagner and the Dessau artists promoted mutual understanding. And so in 1876 the Dessau people were able to contribute 12 musicians to the orchestra of the first Bayreuth Festival , including the horn player Julius Demnitz, who was the first to blow the so-called "Siegfried call" from the opera Siegfried and for which Wagner received special praise. But even in Dessau itself, Wagner performances increased at the end of the century. As early as 1893 August Klughardt (Hofkapellmeister from 1882 to 1902) brought the entire Ring des Nibelungen to a closed performance. Dessau's reputation as the “Bayreuth of the North” dates back to that time.

In the years before the First World War there was an extensive guest performance with General Music Director Franz Mikorey , which took the opera ensemble and with it the famous orchestra to Budapest and Bucharest, among others. New to the concerts of that era were compositions by Anton Bruckner , Franz Liszt and Richard Strauss . After the brief tenure of Hans Knappertsbusch (1919–1922), the Dessau people experienced a large number of world premieres and premieres of new avant-garde works in operas and concerts under the chief conductors Franz von Hoeßlin and Artur Rother . Music by Arnold Schönberg , Kurt Weill , Ernst Krenek , Igor Stravinsky and Béla Bartók played for the first time . Important artists were won as guests, such as the conductors Hans Pfitzner and Hermann Abendroth or the pianists Edwin Fischer and Wilhelm Kempff . General music director Helmut Seydelmann (1934–1951) reserved the right to lead the orchestra through the times of fascism, war and post-war. He was at the podium when the new theater building opened in 1938 with the “ Freischütz ” and, after its destruction in 1949, reopened with the “ Magic Flute ”.

In 1954, when Heinz Röttger took office, one of the most fruitful epochs in orchestra history began. The artist, who is equally valued as a conductor, orchestra teacher, chamber musician and composer, was at home in all areas of style. The Richard Wagner Festival Weeks of the fifties and sixties turned out to be outstanding artistic events under his direction. Röttger's special concern was also new music , which he regularly included in his concert programs. His successors in the position of chief conductor, Manfred Hänsel, Wolfgang Wappler and Hans-Jörg Leipold, continued the tradition (Wagner, Verdi , Strauss and Slavic composers). In autumn 1991 the orchestra's 225th anniversary was celebrated with a festive week.

From 1992 to 1995 Daniel Lipton was artistic director of the ensemble, which since October 1992 has been called the “Anhaltische Philharmonie Dessau”. The Austrian Carlos Kalmar followed in the post of chief conductor in 1996 (until summer 2000) and Golo Berg in 2001 (until 2009). The orchestra has numerous guest engagements, for example repeatedly to the Classic Open Air at Berlin's Gendarmenmarkt , to concerts in the Konzerthaus Berlin , touring with the tenor José Cura , and to Japan by the Anhaltisches Theater Dessau with “ Salome ” and “ The Flying Dutchman ”. In August 2009, Antony Hermus from the Netherlands took up the post of chief conductor.


  • Köhler, Karl-Heinz / Buchmann, Lutz / Müller, Ronald: From the Princely Court Chapel to the Anhalt Philharmonic - 250 Years of the Orchestra in Dessau, ed. from Anhaltisches Theater Dessau , Jonitzer Verlag, Dessau, September 10, 2016, ISBN 978-3-945927-05-2

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Anhaltisches Theater Dessau