The Niedersächsische Staatsorchester Hannover (Lower Saxony State Orchestra Hanover) is an opera and concert orchestra with a successful history of 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. Important 19th-century kapellmeisters were Heinrich Marschner and Hans von Bülow, and general music directors in the first half of the 20th century included Rudolf Krasselt and Franz Konwitschny, neither of whom was politically uncontroversial. After World War II, George Alexander Albrecht was a formative principal conductor with nearly 30 years of service.
Since 1970, the orchestra has belonged to the Niedersächsische Staatstheater Hannover GmbH and is part of the Staatsoper Hannover (Hannover State Opera), currently under the artistic director Laura Berman. It currently has 112 members. Stephan Zilias has been the orchestra's music director since summer 2020