Gewandhausorchester celebrates one hundred years on tour

The Gewandhausorchester on its first tour in 1916 (Credit: Gewandhaus Archive)
Musicians of the Gewandhausorchester on a tour in 1958 (Credit: Gewandhaus Archive / Collection Siegfried Hunger)
Musicians of the Gewandhausorchester on a tour in 1958 (Credit: Gewandhaus Archive / Collection Joachim Terf)

One hundred years ago, the Gewandhausorchester set off on its first international tour ever. To celebrate the anniversary, the orchestra has organized unique events for its fans – a jubilee tour through five countries and a grand concert live streamed across the world on November 18, all powered by DHL.

The world-famous Gewandhausorchester likes to travel. For the last century, the Leipzig-based musicians have played more than 2000 concerts outside their home town – 2115 to be precise. The orchestra has toured through Europe, Asia, Australia, North and South America, visiting in total 50 states.

But it hasn't always been like this.

In the late 19th century, the Gewandhaus administration rejected invitations to guest concerts. It feared the "loosening of discipline" in case the musicians would "like the diversity". Years later, the management had a change of heart and sent the ensemble on its first international tour ever.

On November 18, 1916, the Gewandhausorchester traveled to Bern, Switzerland, to perform Beethoven's Eroica and Wagner's overture to the opera Tannhäuser among others. Concerts in Zurich, Basel, St. Gall and Lucerne followed. The musicians enjoyed the trip and seemed "refreshed through the joy of neutral air," the administration noted, leaving behind its initial fears.

To celebrate the anniversary of the first international tour, the Gewandhausorchester will perform the same program it played in Bern – but this time also at home in Leipzig. Back then, the joy of the Gewandhausorchester's unique sound was limited to the audience on site. This time, the entire world can see and listen to the concert.

DHL is proud to provide a live stream to this grand performance. Tune in on InMotionon November 18 at 8 pm CET to see the Gewandhausorchester play musical works of Ludwig van Beethoven, Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner. The concert will be conducted by the famous Herbert Blomstedt, Conductor Laureate of the Gewandhausorchester.

The live-streamed concert is the highlight of the jubilee year. In August and September, the ensemble performed in five countries on their "Festival Tour 2016". As Official Logistics Partner to the Gewandhausorchester, DHL was delighted to handle the highly complex and delicate logistics challenge. The whirlwind tour was completed in seven days, with the orchestra performing in Edinburgh, London, Rotterdam, Salzburg, and Lucerne.

Big fanfare at DHL Express Hub Opening

Despite the extensive travels, the Gewandhausorchester is very active at home in Leipzig, too. On October 12, a delegation of the orchestra played at the opening ceremony of DHL's new sorting center at the Express Hub in Leipzig. The brass musicians performed Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man", Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 1, and John Williams's "Olympic Fanfare".

With the successful launch of the new sorting facility, DHL reinforced the importance of Leipzig as its main European Express Hub. From this eastern German city, DHL sends its packages around the world and the Gewandhausorchester its unique sound.

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