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The Bayerisches Staatsorchester, one of the oldest and most storied orchestras in the world, developed from the Munich Court Orchestra, whose origins can be traced back to 1523. While church music was originally the focus – as for example under the directorship of Orlando di Lasso starting in 1563 – during the course of the 17th century secular concerts and opera productions were also added. Since the middle of the 18th century, music theater has formed the focus of the orchestra, which today has its home at the Bavarian Staatsoper. Among its early high points were the world premieres of Mozart’s La finta giardiniera and Idomeneo. In 1811 the musicians established the first concert series in Munich with their Academy concerts. The Bayerisches Staats-
orchester, which has been known by its current name since 1918, has earned a lofty reputation at the national and international levels through numerous guest appearances and concert tours. Among the many great composers with whom the orchestra has been associated, Richard Wagner stands out. In 1865 Hans von Bülow conducted the world premiere of Tristan und Isolde at the National Theater, and Wagner’s operas Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Das Rheingold, and Die Walküre were likewise first performed in Munich. The sequence of major conductors who have been associated with the orchestra ranges from Richard Strauss through Bruno Walter and Hans Knappertsbusch to Sir Georg Solti, Joseph Keilberth, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Zubin Mehta, and Kent Nagano. Carlos Kleiber, who was a frequent guest between 1968 and 1997, also collaborated closely with the musicians. Since the beginning of the 2013-14 season, Kirill Petrenko has helmed the orchestra as Bavarian General Music Director. In the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons the ensemble was chosen by the magazine Opernwelt as Orchestra of the Year.