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Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra

Arising from the ashes of post-war Germany, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra quickly set the precedent for chamber orchestras following historical performance practices. Not constrained to the music of any one era, however, the orchestra's repertoire stretches from the Baroque to newly commissioned works. Under principal conductor Thomas Zehetmair and artistic partner Jörg Widmann, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra has continued to grow its prolific recording catalog, appearing on the 2023 Lionel Martin recording of John Tavener's The Protecting Veil. The Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra ("Stuttgarter Kammerorchester") was founded by Karl Münchinger in 1945. The orchestra earned distinction for its approach to performing the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, departing from performance practices that had become standard during the 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1949, it was the first German orchestra to perform in Paris since the conclusion of the Second World War. The successful appearance in Paris led to performance opportunities throughout the region and beyond. Münchinger led the orchestra in its first performance in the U.S. in 1954. It has since returned regularly to tour North America and has done the same in Japan and South Africa. Under Münchinger, it also began to record, leading to acclaim and expanding international interest in its more "authentic" approach to the performance of Bach. These early recordings include a complete set of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos and his St. Matthew's Passion, which earned the coveted Grand Prix du Disque. Münchinger served as the principal conductor of the orchestra until 1987. He was succeeded by Martin Sieghart from 1990 until 1995 when Dennis Russell Davies assumed the post. Davies had been associated with the group since the late '80s, leading the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra in nine concerts of early Mozart works in 1991. By this time, the orchestra's repertoire began expanding well beyond the Baroque, performing and recording music from the Classical period through newly written works, including music by composers such as Philip Glass, Giya Kancheli, and Moritz Eggert. Davies launched a series devoted to performing and recording all of Haydn's symphonies, culminating in a 37-disc box set, 2009 release on Sony Classical. Michael Hofstetter (2006 to 2013) and Matthias Foremny (2013 to 2019) followed Davies, who concluded the Haydn series after Hofstetter's appointment. Thomas Zehetmair assumed the post of principal conductor in 2019 and has continued expanding the orchestra's repertoire and recording catalog. The Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra has also featured prominent guest conductors on its recordings and in concert; these have included Frans Brüggen, Trevor Pinnock, and Helmuth Rilling, among many others. In 2023, Corinna Niemeyer led the orchestra as it backed cellist Lionel Martin on a recording of John Tavener's The Protecting Veil.
© Keith Finke /TiVo
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