History of the Bavarian State Orchestra
After over 100 years in which the orchestra's repertoire was comprised mainly of church music, the first opera performance took place in Munich: Maccioni's L'Arpa festante, performed in the Residence in 1653. The composer Agostino Steffani earned his reputation with many performances of italian operas in the 1680's.
The term "orchestra" was not introduced until 1762. The court orchestra, directed by Andrea Bernasconi, first began to do regular opera work in the middle of the 1770's, as numerous performances began to take place on specified days. In 1778, Mannheim's Elector Karl Theodor introduced his government's legacy to Munich. He brought 33 of Mannheim's court musicians with him to Munich; on October 1st, 1778, these Mannheim musicians were united with 32 selected members of the Munich Court Orchestra.
The same year saw King Max I laying the cornerstone of the Royal Court and National Theatre, which was opened on October 12th, 1818 During King Max I's reign, the duties of the Court Orchestra included in equal measure the performance of church music, teatime music, chamber music and theatre music. Under King Ludwig I, the orchestra managed to win Franz Lachner as its first Generl Music Director in 1836.
The reign of King Ludwig II is cloesly allied with the name of Richard Wagner. On June 10th, 1865, the Court Orchestra Director Hans von Bülow conducted the premiere of Tristan and Isolde; on june 21st, 1868, that of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. There followed premieres of das Rheingold and Die Walküre, conducted by Franz Wüllner, on September 22nd, 1869, and June 26th, 1870 respectively.
Starting with the 2006/2007 season, Kent Nagano has become Zubin Mehta's successor as Bavarian General Music Director.