Discover this historical concert house, which is famous for the Gewandhaus Orchestra based in it. The Gewandhaus stages nearly 700 events a year, with half a million visitors stepping through its grand doors. A large part of these events are concerts but they also host conferences, festive events and receptions.
Rich musical heritage
The earliest roots of the Gewandhausorchester can be traced as far back as 1479. In this year Leipzig City Council appointed three musicians called "Kunstpfeifer" ('artistic pipers') as municipal employees. This small ensemble remained in civic service until 1840, by which time their number had increased to seven and played a pivotal part in Leipzig's cultural life. The concert enterprise Großes Concert was founded in 1743 by a society comprising both nobility and regular citizens alike - the first venture of its kind in Leipzig. In 1781, the Gewandhaus (the trading house of the city's textile merchants) had no use for part of their building and so it became the city's concert hall. The concert hall flourished and the biggest names in music played there. Over the following decades, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Richard Wagner and Johannes Brahms all graced the hall with their mercurial talents, while Felix Mendelssohn, was the music director there between 1835 and 1847.
Eventually, in the 19th century, the demands for larger orchestras and the increasing population would require bigger premises for the Gewandhaus. After two and a half years of construction, the Neues Gewandhaus was inaugurated in December 1884. The new concert hall hosted the likes of Tchaikovsky and Grieg, but was sadly lost during bombing in World War II. It was not until 1981 that a new Gewandhaus was built - the only genuine concert hall to be built during the GDR period.
The modern concert house
Much has changed in Leipzig during the past decades but the Gewandhausorchester has constantly performed in the Gewandhaus during this period. The modern concert hall on Augustusplatz is built of glass and concrete with excellent acoustics. The Gewandhaus produces approximately 250 classical concerts per season: "Great Concerts" with the Gewandhaus Orchestra, chamber music, choir and organ concerts, music festivals (such as the annual Mendelssohn Festival), the Audio Invasion and much more. The Gewandhaus also organizes a broad range of music education projects. Their incredible repertoire has given the Gewandhausorchester a global reputation for excellence and should be seen at all costs when visiting the city.