Dresdner Philharmonie © Björn Kadenbach

Dresdner Philharmonie

The Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra

Music for all

That is the claim of the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestra stands for concerts at the highest artistic level, musical education for all ages and looking beyond the musical horizon. Guest performances on almost every continent and collaborations with guests from all over the world have anchored the reputation of the Dresden Philharmonic in the international classical music world. Marek Janowski has been chief conductor and artistic director of the Dresden Philharmonic for the second time since the 2019/2020 concert season. Already in his first term from 2001 to 2003, he convinced with unusual and challenging programs.

A stroke of luck concert hall

In 2017, the new concert hall was opened in the Kulturpalast in the middle of Dresden's old town. It is a stroke of luck for the Dresden Philharmonic, for the city and for the entire music world. Internationally, it is now considered an insider's tip, and the people of Dresden also feel at home in its 1800 coral-red seats and surrounded by the "Dresden sound" of their orchestra. Ideal conditions for the Dresden Philharmonic to further shape its sound ideal, to profile programs and to be there for everyone who loves music. In the romantic repertoire, the orchestra has retained its own warm, rounded sound. It also excels in tonal and stylistic flexibility for both Baroque and Viennese Classical music as well as modern works.

One hundred and fifty years

Self-confident and hungry for music: in 1870, Dresden citizens took the initiative and founded the history of the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra. They gave the Stadtkapelle the opportunity to hold concerts in their trade house and were themselves attentive audiences. Philharmonic concerts were held regularly from 1885 until the orchestra gave itself its present name in 1923. In the first decades, composers such as Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák and Strauss stood at the podium with their own works. Paul van Kempen shaped it into a first-class ensemble from 1934. After him, Kurt Masur (also honorary conductor since 1994), Marek Janowski, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and Michael Sanderling, among others, left their mark on the orchestra. The orchestra promotes top young musicians in the Kurt Masur Academy.

Loyal audience

Interested, informed and, above all, loyal. Hardly any other German orchestra is as connected to its audience as the Dresden Philharmonic. It is thanks to this loyalty that the orchestra has survived threatening crises: in 1923, during the first major economic crisis after the First World War; in 1933, when the Nazis came to power; in 1944/45, after the closure of all concert halls and the bombing of the city. And even in the years after 1989/90, it was their audience that remained loyal to the Dresden Philharmonic. It was put to the test with the Corona pandemic, and it was here that it became clear how important the orchestra is to them. For this, it was chosen by the cultural magazine concerti as the audience of the year 2020.


Exploring classical music on Sunday mornings with Malte Arkona, experiencing the orchestra with the school class, being able to try out an instrument yourself - young people with their curiosity about music are important to the Dresden Philharmonic. This is reflected in the approximately 35 family and school concerts each year, as well as the partnership with a Dresden elementary school and, of course, more and more digital offerings. The Dresden Philharmonic is constantly breaking new ground online, whether with streaming, digital concert introductions, a short film series about the team behind the scenes, the podcast for young people or a 360-degree tour of the Kulturpalast.

Listening again and again

In 1937, the orchestra began recording records. Today, the Dresden Philharmonic's discography lists nearly 330 works. Recent recordings include a CD cycle conducted by Michael Sanderling featuring the complete symphonies of Dmitri Shostakovich and Ludwig van Beethoven (Sony Classical). With principal conductor Marek Janowski, the Dresden Philharmonic has recorded Mascagni's "Cavalleria rusticana" and Puccini's "Il Tabarro" (PentaTone). And the principal conductor and orchestra used the 2020/2021 Corona break to record Beethoven's "Fidelio," Schubert's "Great" Symphony in C major and its "Unfinished," and Schumann's four symphonies.

concerts featuring Dresdner Philharmonie