The world's oldest orchestras – a definitive chartmain
Acting on information received in response to a speculative punt last night, I am in a position to compile a list of the world’s oldest orchestras that are still in full functioning existence. Each has claimed, at some point or other, to be the oldest. Feel free to add or challenge.
1 Copenhagen: Royal Danish orchestra…. 1448
2 Weimar Hofkapelle …. 1491
3 Kassel Hofkapelle …. 1502
4 Stockholm: Kungliga Hovkapellet … 1525
5 Dresden (or Saschsiche) Hofkapelle … 1548
6 Karlsruhe – Badische Staatskapelle … 1662
7 Mannheim …. 1702 (?)
8 Leipzig Gewandhausorchester …. 1743
What, nothing in Austria or Italy?
Surely Mannheim should be in there somewhere?
Pretty sure the Gewandhaus Orchestra’s claim is that it is the oldest “civic orchestra”.
May I ask, who was the principal oboist in the Royal Danish orchestra in 1448? Did he have to ride a horse all the way to southern France for his reeds? My guess is that von Karajan was the conductor around from 1451 to 1877 or so.
The Royal danish orchestra didn’t start as a symphony orchestra but as a section of Trumpets and percussion. So when King Christian the first was crowned the Royal Danish Orchestra played. But it has since changed ofcourse to being a full symphony orchestra.
The Meininger Hofkapelle is celebrating its 325th anniversary this year, which would make its founding in 1690.
Thüringen Philharmonie Gotha. Founded 1651
Staatsorchester Stuttgart is soon celebrating its 425th anniversary, it was founded in 1593.
Thueringen Symphony Orchestra (former Hofkapelle Rudolstadt) founded in 1635
Paris opera 1669
Mecklenburgische Staatskapelle Schwerin founded in 1563
Staatsorchester Braunschweig 1587
Staatskapelle Berlin 1570
opera de paris orchestra founded in 1672