Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester


Even seasoned Frankfurt citizens are often puzzled by the name of the orchestra of their city's opera house. Whereas the Hamburg State Opera's orchestra is nobly (but officially) named "Philharmonic State Orchestra", Munich's the "Bavarian State Orchestra", the name of their Frankfurt counterpart sounds somewhat strange.

Frankfurt has a Museum Riverbank in whose vicinity the Opera House is located, but the name did not originate from this elegant promenade. The Frankfurt Museum Orchestra, the orchestra of the City of Frankfurt, also performs the concerts of the Frankfurt Museum Society, one if the City's most traditional supporters of culture, and here lie the roots of the initially uncommon sounding name.

The "Museum", today the Frankfurt Museum Society", was founded by art loving citizens in 1808 with the objective "by combining aesthetic and moral culture to provide greatest support for humankind's highest culture". Even during the turbulent Napoleonic times the "Museum" was far removed from such an institution in today's understanding. It was an association devoted to cultivating literature, the fine arts and music - actively! Art and science were to come together - a truly modern interdisciplinary approach. Those persons having inadequate talent to gain admission to the three "classes" of the "Museum", were left with the fourth department, namely that of the art lover. Here, without becoming active oneself, one could enjoy concerts by professional musicians, who were engaged as orchestra for specific occasions.
Usually they were the musicians of the theatre itself, and in fact this was one of the first bourgeois opera houses. Half a century later, with the rapid expansion of the concert sector, the "Museum" evolved into the Museum Society as concert organizer per se. The newly constructed concert hall "Saalbau" hosted some of the most outstanding soloists and conductors of their time - Camille Saint-Saëns, Clara Schumann, Hans von Bulow and Johannes Brahms, to name only a few.

The orchestra, however, that performs at the concerts of this promoter, was and is the orchestra of the opera house, whose official title is still "Municipal Frankfurt Opera House and Museum Orchestra", shortened to "Frankfurt Museum Orchestra". And hopefully it will not become a museum piece ever!

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Oper Frankfurt
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60311 Frankfurt am Main
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