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Hofkapelle München
Neue Hopfkapelle München (Chamber Orchestra)

Founded: 1556 - Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Re-founded: 1992, as Neue Hofkapelle München


The Hofkapelle München, since 2009 under the artistic direction of the renowned Baroque violinist Rüdiger Lotter, has dedicated itself to historically informed performance of music from the 17th to the 19th centuries. With the highest artistic standards, rousing commitment and stirring virtuosity, the orchestra has earned its place among Europe's leading early music ensembles. The orchestra is comprised of early music specialists and soloists, whose expertise and enthusiasm lends the ensemble its distinctive vigour and unmistakable tone.

The rediscovery of the wonderful musical history of southern Germany, considered in a European context, lies especially close to the heart of the Hofkapelle München. This pertains to the effect of Italian-influenced music in the 17th and 18th centuries as well as that of the Mannheim school from 1778 onwards, when musicians such as Danzi and Cannabich influenced musical life in Munich. The Hofkapelle München has won several music awards for its commitment to this field.


The music of the Munich court stretches back into the early 16th century. Up to that point a haphazard circle that played together irregularly, the court musicians were organised into a professional ensemble by the court composer Ludwig Senfl.

The heyday of the orchestra began in 1556, when Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria summoned Orlando di Lasso, the "princeps musicorum" (prince of musicians), to Munich to become the leader of the Hofkapelle.

For the next two hundred years, the Hofkapelle München was highly regarded as an elite ensemble. Agostino Steffani, Pietro Torri and Evaristo Felice dall' Abaco were among the outstanding musicians who performed at the Munich court.

The inauguration of the heir apparent Karl-Theodor as Elector in 1777 led to the amalgamation of the Hofkapelle with the distinguished Mannheim Hofkapelle, ensuring that the orchestra continued to flourish.

The court's patronage of both secular and church music and the appointment of highly regarded singers and musicians was as important for the image of the Bavarian court as its magnificent building projects. Unprecedented for a state of its size, Bavaria became the outstanding artistic and cultural centre of Europe. Today, the direct descendent of the Hofkapelle is the Bayerisches Staatsorchester (Bavarian State Orchestra).


The Neue Hofkapelle München (= NHM) was founded in 1992 by young musicians, all specialists in historic performance practice. Unique in Bavaria, the orchestra aspires to establish itself as a firm part of the cultural landscape. It dedicates its efforts to researching, documenting and re-performing lost treasures of Bavarian residences, palaces and monasteries. One of its goals is to enable audiences to re-experience this music in its original setting: Bavaria’s historic rooms. The ensemble has quickly established itself under the direction of Christoph Hammer as one of the most sought-after Baroque orchestras in the Bavarian region.

Between 2003 and 2008, the ensemble performed as a festival orchestra at the annual opening of the Residenzwoche Munich. The NHM does not limit its activities to Munich, however, but is developing long-term regional co-operation among various Bavarian cities. The NHM has expanded its musical palette with national and international projects. The ensemble has regularly taken part in the Internationale Barocktage Stift Melk in Austria and the Brixener Initiative Musik und Kirche in Italy. Especially well received was Hofkapelle Munich's appearance at the "Music Days" in Lisbon, Portugal.

Since 1998, the orchestra has also earned recognition for its performances of opera. As the festival orchestra of the 2003 Residenzwoche München, the NHM performed Munich’s first opera, L’arpa festante, on the occasion of the “350 Years of Opera” festivities held in that city. In a co-production with the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, the NHM performed Giovanni Ferrandini’s Catone in Utica in Munich’s Cuvilliéstheater, the site of the work’s original premiere and one of the most beautiful rococo theaters still in existence, to celebrate both the theater’s opening and the opera’s premiere 250 years before. A recording of this work was released on Oehms Classics in 2004. For the 2004 Residenzwoche München, the NHM presented Pietro Torri’s cantata Triomphe de la paix from 1714, which will appear on the ORF Alte Musik label. One of the orchestra’s projects for 2005 will be a production of Steffani’s opera Alarico.

In close co-operation with the Bayerische Theaterakademie (Bavarian Academy of Theatre), the orchestra provides accompaniment for 17th- and 18th-century productions by the opera school of the Bayerische Theaterakademie August Everding. The programme for 2007 included Reinhard Keiser's Fredegunda and W.A. Mozart's Cosi fan tutte. In 2009, the Hofkapelle München could be enjoyed performing Henry Purcell's Fairy Queen under the direction of Christoph Hammer and Antonio Vivaldi's Orlando furioso under the direction of Michael Hofstetter.

Christoph Hammer is the artistic director of the orchestra; its concertmaster is Rüdiger Lotter.

Source: Oehms Classics Website; Hofkapelle München Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (February 2005, September 2013)

Rüdiger Lotter: Short Biography | Hofkapelle München | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Christian Brembeck


BWV 1083
F.B. Conti: Cantata Languet anima mea

Gerd Guglhör


BWV 245

Links to other Sites

Hofkapelle München (Official Website)

Oehms Classics: Neue Hofkapelle München [German/English]

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 15:47