Munich Philharmonic Orchestra

Biography

Active: 1893 - ; Germany
Of the three major orchestras located in the historic Bavarian capitol of Munich (München), the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra (Münchner Philharmoniker) is the least recorded of all orchestras that share its high level of excellence, primarily due to an eccentricity of one of its most famous conductors.

For most of its history Munich has been capitol of Bavaria and the seat of its ruling dynasty, the Wittelsbachs, who rose from Dukes to
Read more Electors to King. They established Munich as a European music center when they hired Orlando di Lassus as Hofkapellmeister in 1557, and founded one of Europe's finest court operas in 1651. (The opera, now the Bavarian State Opera, is still in existence; its orchestra, the Bavarian State Orchestra, is one of the two other main orchestras in Munich, the other being the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.)

The era from 1775 to 1850 saw the rise of public concerts in Europe, often under the auspices of private organizations rather than courts. This process began in earnest in Munich in 1811, when the Musikalisches Akademie (Musical Academy) was formed around several musicians of the opera orchestra. Failure to find an exciting conductor who could exert leadership caused their concert series to decline in the 1820s until they ended in 1832. In the 1840s, Franz Lachner, the dynamic conductor of the opera, revived the Musical Academy and re-established regular concerts.

In 1893, some musicians formed a privately incorporated orchestra known as the Kaim Orchestra and started a series of symphony concerts, moving in 1895 into the city's Concert Hall (Tonhalle). These concerts became very popular and remained so. When the orchestra was staggering, following the post-World War I financial crisis, the Munich city government took possession of the orchestra, which was renamed the Munich Philharmonic. The well-known composer Hans Pfitzner was one of the conductors during the 1920s.

In the 1930s, the orchestra received a new emblem, which it thereafter displayed with seeming pride: An eagle grasping a reversed Swastika in its talons over the legend, "The Orchestra of the Fascist Movement." Oswald Kabasta, conductor through much of the Nazi era, began the process of elevating the Munich Philharmonic to a high level, which continued after the war through such conductors as Hans Rosbaud and Rudolf Kempe.

In 1979, the often controversial and nearly legendary conductor Sergiu Celibidache became the orchestra's General Music Director. This inaugurated a period of exceptional accomplishment for the orchestra. However, his autocratic ways and constant threat of a walk-out (which he actually carried out for a few months in 1984) troubled many of the orchestra's supporters. His attempt to demote the orchestra's female solo trombonist, American Abbie Conant (who had been invited to audition in a letter addressed "Herr Abbie Conant and was hired in a screened audition) descended into harassment which a German judge later ruled was "indecent" and embroiled the orchestra and the City of Munich into a losing thirteen-year legal struggle that ultimately deeply embarrassed both. (It was dramatized in a full-length film, "Abbie Get Your Gun."

In addition, Celibidache's complete refusal to make audio recordings kept the rise in the Munich Philharmonic's stature a virtual secret outside Munich, except for occasional tours, such as an eleven-city triumph in the United States in 1989. Celibidache's sudden death in 1996 at the age of eighty-four required the Munich Philharmonic to search for a new Music Director. In 1998, James Levine, Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, accepted the position. He drew up a particularly striking retrospective series on twentieth-century music for the 2000-2001 season. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 116 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Darius Milhaud - Une Vie Heureuse [10-CD Set]
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 634844 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Darius Milhaud
    Performer:  Michel Béroff,  Jean-Philippe Collard,  Noel Lee,  Christian Ivaldi  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Georges Prętre,  Georges Tzipine,  Darius Milhaud  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra,  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris  ... 
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  • 2.
    Gulda: Cello Concerto, Concerto For Myself / Schiff, Munich Philharmonic
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 101675 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Friedrich Gulda
    Performer:  Heinrich Schiff,  Friedrich Gulda
    Conductor:  Friedrich Gulda
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 3.
    The Westminster Legacy
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001999302 Release Date: 02/18/2014   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Sena Jurinac,  Lucretia West,  Hans Loeffler,  Frederick Guthrie  ... 
    Conductor:  Hermann Scherchen,  Pierre Monteux,  René Leibowitz,  Erich Leinsdorf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Academy Chamber Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $149.98
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  • 4.
    Celibidache Rehearses Bruckner's Ninth [blu-ray]
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 108089 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 5.
    Celibidache In St. Florian - Bruckner: Mass In F Minor
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 101678 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner
    Performer:  Matthias Hölle,  Doris Soffel,  Margaret Price,  Peter Straka  ... 
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Bruckner: Symphonies 4 & 7 / Thielemann, Munich Philharmonic [blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 712304 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 7.
    Great Wagner Conductors [4-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001826202 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch,  Wilhelm Furtwängler,  Eugen Jochum,  Victor De Sabata  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $26.98
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  • 8.
    Great Wagner Singers [6-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001826302 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Hans Hotter,  Sieglinde Wagner,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Gundula Janowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Heinrich Hollreiser,  Wilhelm Pitz,  Ferdinand Leitner,  Richard Kraus  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Orchestra,  Bayreuth Festival Chorus  ... 
    CD: $34.99
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  • 9.
    Icon - Brigitte Fassbaender [8-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 829682 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Franz Schubert,  Hugo Wolf,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Karl Engel,  Erik Werba,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Baumgart,  Lawrence Foster,  Jeffrey Tate,  Wolfgang Eber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Bavariae,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $52.99
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  • 10.
    Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No 1; Rachmaninov: Cello Sonata / Sol Gabetta, Olga Kern, Lorin Maazel
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 543575 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Sol Gabetta,  Olga Kern
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
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  • 11.
    Dvorak: The Symphonies / Davis, Philharmonia
    Label: Sony (Nax615)   Catalog: 5409112 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis,  Rudolf Kempe,  David Zinman,  Marcel Moyse
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 12.
    Label: Membran / Documents   Catalog: 1203297 Release Date: 10/02/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  George Frideric Handel,  Giovanni Palestrina,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Helmut Deutsch,  Roland Keller,  Uwe Harrer,  René Kollo  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden,  Domenico Bartolucci,  Hans Gillesberger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Marianne & Michael
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  • 13.
    Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier / Fleming, Koch, Damrau, Munich Philharmonic
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001620102 Release Date: 10/02/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Franz Grundheber,  Jonas Kaufmann,  Jane Henschel,  Diana Damrau  ... 
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $35.98
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  • 14.
    Beethoven: Symphonies Nos 1 & 3 / Rudolf Kempe, Münchner Philharmoniker
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 636555 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $7.99
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  • 15.
    Bruckner: Symphony No 4 / Celibidache, Munich Philharmonic
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 101645 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Sergiu Celibidache Conducts Bruckner [3 DVDs & 2CDs]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 195270 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Bruckner: Symphony No 5 / Celibidache, Munich Philharmonic
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 101639 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 18.
    Sergiu Celibidache / Celibidache, Munchner Philharmoniker
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2059118 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johannes Brahms,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
    DVD: $39.99
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  • 19.
    Schumann, Tchaikovsky: Piano Concertos / Barenboim, Celibidache
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2066588 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 20.
    Celibidache  Vol  2 - Bruckner / Munich Philharmonic
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 85578 Release Date: 11/29/2011   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner
    Performer:  Margaret Price,  Karl Helm,  Christel Borchers,  Claes-Hĺkan Ahnsjö  ... 
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Munich Bach Choir,  Munich Philharmonic Choir
    On sale! $107.98
    CD: $82.49
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  • 21.
    Celibidache  Vol  3 - French & Russian Music / Munich Philharmonic
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 85606 Release Date: 11/29/2011   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Darius Milhaud
    Performer:  Peter Sadlo,  János Starker,  Eric Le Sage,  Emmanuel Pahud  ... 
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache,  Leonard Bernstein,  Walter Susskind,  John Alldis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $87.98
    CD: $75.99
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  • 22.
    Celibidache  Vol 4 - Sacred Music & Opera / Munich Phiharmonic
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 85617 Release Date: 11/29/2011   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Anton Scharinger,  Yaron Windmuller,  Peter Schreier,  Barbara Bonney  ... 
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Munich Philharmonic Choir,  Munich Bach Choir
    On sale! $87.98
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  • 23.
    Celibidache Vol 1 - Symphonies / Munich Philharmonic
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 85566 Release Date: 11/29/2011   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Siegfried Jerusalem,  Helen Donath,  Doris Soffel,  Peter Lika
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Munich Philharmonic Choir
    CD: $95.99
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  • 24.
    Brahms: Piano Concertos 1 & 2 / Barenboim, Celibidache, Munich PO
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2066688 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Bruckner: Symphonies / Hans Knappertsbusch
    Label: Music & Arts   Catalog: 1256 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner,  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $58.99
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