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|Principal conductor||Christian Thielemann|
The Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden (known colloquially as the Staatskapelle Dresden) is a German orchestra based in Dresden. Founded in 1548 by Maurice, Elector of Saxony, it is one of the world's oldest orchestras. Its precursor ensemble was Die Kurfürstlich-Sächsische und Königlich-Polnische Kapelle (The Saxony Elector and Royal Polish Band). The orchestra is the musical body of the Sächsische Staatsoper (Saxon State Opera). The venue of the orchestra is the Semperoper opera house.
In the twentieth century, Richard Strauss became closely associated with the orchestra as both conductor and composer, which premiered several of his works. Karl Böhm and Hans Vonk were notable among the orchestra's chief conductors in that they served as chief conductors of both the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden and the State Opera simultaneously. Herbert Blomstedt was musical director of the Staatskapelle from 1975 to 1985, and now has the title of Ehrendirigent (honorary conductor) with the orchestra.
Giuseppe Sinopoli was chief conductor from 1992 until his sudden death in 2001. Bernard Haitink replaced him in August 2002, but resigned in 2004 over disputes with the Staatskapelle's Intendant, Gerd Uecker, on the orchestra's choice of successor. In August 2007 Fabio Luisi began his tenure as chief conductor after having appointed as far back as January 2004. He shared with Böhm and Vonk the historic distinction of being chief conductor of both the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden and the Sächsische Staatsoper simultaneously. Luisi was scheduled to step down as chief conductor in 2012 in accord with the October 2009 announcement of Christian Thielemann as the orchestra's next chief conductor, effective with the 2012-2013 season. However, Luisi resigned as chief conductor of the Staatskapelle in February 2010, effective immediately, after reports that the management had secured a contract with the ZDF network for a scheduled televised concert on New Year's Eve 2011 without consulting him at all in his capacity as the orchestra's GMD. Thielemann was initially contracted with the orchestra through 2019. In November 2017, the orchestra announced the extension of Thielemann's contract as chief conductor through 31 July 2024.
Sir Colin Davis held the title of 'conductor laureate' from 1990 until his death in 2013, the first and only to-date conductor to be granted this title by the orchestra. The orchestra named Myung-Whun Chung as its first-ever principal guest conductor, effective as of the 2012–2013 season.
In 2007, the orchestra inaugurated the post of Capell-Compositeur or composer-in-residence, with each appointed composer installed for one concert season. The first Capell-Compositeur was Isabel Mundry. Sofia Gubaidulina was Capell-Compositrice for the 2014–2015 and 2016–2017 seasons, the first composer to hold the title more than once. Arvo Pärt holds the title of Capell-Compositeur for the 2017–2018 season.
In April 2007, the European Cultural Foundation awarded the orchestra a prize "zur Bewahrung des musikalischen Weltkulturerbes" (for preservation of the world's musical heritage"). In June 2011, the orchestra was announced as the new resident orchestra of the Salzburg Easter Festival, as of 2013.