Stopping off at Augustusplatz – the huge open square just to the east of the city centre – on my way into town after leaving my lugggage at my hotel, I found myself in front of the Gewandhaus, home of the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester that I've heard so many times on disc. The present avant-garde Gewandhaus [Textile Hall] is the third building to bear the name, and was opened in 1981, exactly 200 years after a group of musicians formed in 1743 under the name Grosses Concert moved into a renovated textile hall in 1781.
The Gewandhausorchester is arguably the oldest orchestra still performing, in Germany and perhaps elsewhere, other than the old orchestras of the royal courts and nobility. Felix Mendelssohn was its principal conductor from 1835 to 1847, turning it into into one of Europe's premiere ensembles. He successfully campaigned for it to come under the aegis of the City Council, so enabling the musicians to be employed and to receive a salary. Later principal conductors include great names such as Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, Kurt Masur and Herbert Blomstedt.
I called in to see if there were any tickets for the concert the following night: Thomas Zehetmair and the Gewandhausorchester, conducted by Herbert Blomstedt, with the premiere of Bartel's violin concert and Bruckner's symphony no. 6. [Concert details in the Music Trail]. Arriving for the concert I took some pictures on the Nikon Coolpix P5000 of the dramatic night-time view into the glass-fronted foyers and the 'ceiling mural' on the upper level.