The Staatskapelle Berlin (German: [ˈʃtaːtskaˌpɛlə bɛɐ̯ˈliːn]) is a German orchestra and the resident orchestra of the Berlin State Opera. Until the fall of the German Empire in 1918 the orchestra's name was "Kgl. Kapelle", i. e. Royal Orchestra.
The orchestra traces its roots to 1570, when Joachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg established the rules for an orchestra at his court which had been constituted, at an unknown date. In 1701, the affiliation of the Electors of Brandenburg to the position of King of Prussia led to the description of the orchestra as Königlich Preußische Hofkapelle ("Royal Prussian Court Orchestra"), which consisted of about 30 musicians. The orchestra became affiliated with the Royal Court Opera, established in 1742 by Frederick the Great. Noted musicians associated with the orchestra have included Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Franz Benda, and Johann Joachim Quantz
The first concert by the ensemble for a wider audience outside of the royal courts was on 1 March 1783 at the Hotel Paris, led by Johann Friedrich Reichardt, the ensemble's Kapellmeister. After the advent of Giacomo Meyerbeer as Kapellmeister, from 1842, the role of the orchestra expanded and a first annual concert series for subscribers was launched. The orchestra gave a number of world and German premieres of works by Richard Wagner, Felix Mendelssohn, and Otto Nicolai.
The orchestra's music director, the Staatskapellmeister, holds the same post with the Berlin State Opera. The orchestra was in the eastern part of Berlin, and thus was part of East Germany from 1945 to 1990.
The current Staatskapellmeister of the orchestra and the opera has been Daniel Barenboim since 1992. Barenboim has had the title of "conductor for life" for the ensemble since 2000. In July 2013, the orchestra made its first-ever appearances at The Proms, performing the four operas of Der Ring des Nibelungen, the first complete Ring cycle to be given in a single Proms season. In January 2017, the orchestra and Barenboim performed the complete symphonies of Anton Bruckner at Carnegie Hall, the first live Bruckner symphony cycle ever performed in the USA. In July 2017, the orchestra was the first non-UK orchestra to perform the two completed symphonies of Edward Elgar at The Proms in a single season.
Barenboim and the orchestra have made several recordings for the Teldec and Decca labels.
- Fiona Maddocks (2013-07-27). "Proms 14 & 15: Das Rheingold/Die Walküre – review". The Observer. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
- Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim and Zachary Woolfe (2017-01-30). "When a Composer Just Doesn't Do It for You (No Matter How Much You Listen)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-07-17.