Tradition and innovation

The Dresden Philharmonic looks back on over 150 years of history. At the same time, it is looking to the future...

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 principal conductor and artistic director of the Dresden Philharmonic for the second time since the 2019/2020 concert season. During his first term from 2001 to 2003, he already impressed with unusual and demanding programmes.


C Jörg Simanowski

A stroke of luck concert hall

The new concert hall in the Kulturpalast in the middle of Dresden's old town was opened in 2017. 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 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. These are ideal conditions for the Dresden Philharmonic to continue shaping its sound ideal, to distinguish its programmes and to be there for everyone who loves music. In the Romantic repertoire, the orchestra has retained its own warm, rounded sound. In addition, it is distinguished by a tonal and stylistic flexibility for the music of the Baroque and Viennese Classical periods as well as for modern works.

View into the hall C Markenfotografie
With Paul van Kempen in the Gewerbehaus hall

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. From 1885 onwards there were regular Philharmonic concerts 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 onwards. After him, Kurt Masur (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 also 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 voted Audience of the Year 2020 by the cultural magazine concerti.

In the partner primary school


Exploring classical music on Sunday mornings with Malte Arkona, experiencing the orchestra with a 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 every year, as well as the partnership with a Dresden primary school and, of course, more and more digital offerings. The Dresden Philharmonic is constantly breaking new ground online, whether with streaming, the digital concert introduction, 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 making records. Today, the discography of the Dresden Philharmonic lists almost 330 works. Recent recordings include a CD cycle conducted by Michael Sanderling with 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 Corona break 2020/2021 for recordings of Beethoven's "Fidelio", Schubert's "Great" Symphony in C major and his "Unfinished" as well as the four symphonies by Schumann.


Shellac record with the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra

Culture for Future

The Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra is committed to sustainability in orchestral operations and is committed to the charter "Culture for Tomorrow". 


Von 100 Prozent Ökostrom über fair gehandelte Produkte in den Teeküchen bis hin zu Orchesterreisen mit Bahn statt Flugzeug - das Spektrum ist breit, in dem die Dresdner Philharmonie aktiv wird, um mit Ressourcen schonend umzugehen und Kunst einen Rahmen zu geben, in dem sie eine Zukunft hat. 

Im Januar 2022 haben sich zahlreiche Kultureinrichtungen Dresdens in der Charte "Culture for Future" zu nachhaltigem Handeln verpflichtet. Die Dresdner Philharmonie ist dabei Vorreiterin und hat bereits konkrete Pläne entwickelt.


› Getting to the Kulturpalast without a car, rehearsing in an energy-efficient hall, calling up rosters online and taking concert trips by train - there are many building blocks that can make our orchestra sustainable - I'm in! ‹
Daniel Thiele Cellist