A specially assembled festival orchestra came together for the first time, at Richard Wagner’s instigation, for the 1876 Bayreuth Festival.
For the premiere of “Parsifal” in 1882 on the occasion of the second Bayreuth Festival, the Bavarian King Ludwig II placed the orchestra and choir of the Munich Court Theatre at the Festival’s disposal. The Munich Court orchestra also played for the 1883 and 1884 Festivals.
Since 1886 there has been a festival orchestra each year, consisting of the best musicians from other musical ensembles. So it has remained to this day: around 200 musicians from distinguished orchestras in Germany and abroad come together every year for the Bayreuth Festival. Although the festival orchestra is newly engaged every year, numerous musicians have been part of the festival for many years and consider this to be their second artistic home.
In addition to up to 30 events on site in Bayreuth during the festival season, the Festival Orchestra has repeatedly been invited to give guest performances, for example in Abu Dhabi in 2008 and 2019 and in Barcelona in 2012.