The Lower Saxony State Orchestra Hannover is an opera and concert orchestra with a successful history spanning almost four hundred years. In addition to daily opera and ballet performances, the largest orchestra in Lower Saxony produces eight symphony concerts per season, its own chamber concert series, numerous children's concerts and special concerts, as well as educational programs. In multidisciplinary projects and international collaborations, musicians are given the opportunity to test the development of an orchestra of the future.
Founded in 1636 as a court orchestra, Heinrich Schütz, Agostino Steffani and Georg Friedrich Händel were among the first conductors. The orchestra was enlarged with the construction of the present opera house in 1852. Joseph Joachim was the outstanding concertmaster of the time - from 1852 to 1866 he was Royal Concertmaster, and from 1859 Concert Director at the Opera House. Thus, the Lower Saxony State Orchestra Hanover is the orchestra in which Joseph Joachim was permanently engaged for the longest period of his life and with which he remained associated as a guest until a few years before his death.
Since 1970, the orchestra has belonged to the Niedersächsische Staatstheater Hannover GmbH and is part of the Hanover State Opera, currently under the artistic director Laura Berman. It currently has 112 members. Stephan Zilias has been Music Director since summer 2020.