Leipzig Gewandhaus

Leipzig GewandhausThe orchestra’s origins can be traced to 1743, when a society called the Grosses Concert began performing in private homes. In 1744 the Grosses Concert moved its concerts to the “Three Swans” Tavern. Their concerts continued at this venue for 36 years, until 1781. In 1780, because of complaints about concert conditions and audience behavior in the tavern, the mayor and city council of Leipzig offered to renovate one story of the Gewandhaus (the building used by textile merchants) for the orchestra’s use. The motto Res severa est verum gaudium (“a serious concern is true pleasure”, or “true pleasure is a serious business” – from the Roman author Seneca) was painted in the hall, suggesting the priorities of the sponsors. The orchestra gave its first concert in the Gewandhaus in 1781. The orchestra thus has a good claim to being the oldest continuing orchestra in Germany founded by bourgeoisie, while older orchestras were part of royal suites.

In 1835 the great composer Felix Mendelssohn became the orchestra’s music director, with the traditional title of Gewandhauskapellmeister; he held the position until his death in 1847 with only one year’s interruption. In 1885, the orchestra moved into a new hall. This was destroyed by bombing in 1944. The present Gewandhaus is the third building with the name. It was opened in 1981. The large organ in the hall bears the original Gewandhaus hall’s motto “Res severa verum gaudium”.

Aside from its duties as a concert orchestra the ensemble also performs frequently in the Thomaskirche and as the official opera orchestra of the Leipzig Opera.

 

Leipzig Gewandhaus – Wikipedia