The Staatsorchester Stuttgart is the house orchestra and heart of the Staatstheater Stuttgart, which celebrated its 425th anniversary in 2018, making it one of the oldest orchestras in the world. More than 230 opera and ballet performances in the Littmannbau with the orchestra are on the orchestra’s program each season, in addition to the symphony and chamber concert series. The “cushion concerts” for children and the sponsorship of the Baden-Württemberg State Youth Orchestra reflect the musicians commitment to young audiences and musicians. In 2002, the Staatsorchester was named “Orchestra of the Year” by Opernwelt magazine.
The repertoire of the Staatsorchester Stuttgart has always been of a wide-range: the orchestra implemented early on the findings of historical performance practice in opera productions. However, the stylistic sophistication is also expressed in a long line of important performances of contemporary music, including Luigi Nono's Al gran sole carico d'amore and Helmut Lachenmann's The Match Girl. This tradition of innovation goes back to the 19th century: in addition to the German premiere of Verdi's Falstaff, Stuttgart was one of the first houses in Germany to present the entire Ring des Nibelungen as its own production. This trend continued with the world premiere of Ariadne auf Naxos conducted by Richard Strauss in 1912, the world premieres of Paul Hindemith's one-act plays in 1921 and the German premiere of his opera Mathis der Maler. The world premieres of the past decades include works by Carl Orff, Krzysztof Penderecki, Philip Glass, Hans Zender, Rolf Riehm, Wolfgang Rihm, Adriana Hölszky, Gerard Pesson and Hans Thomalla as well as by Richard Ayres, Mark Andre and Helmut Lachenmann.
The Staatsorchester Stuttgart has been a member of "Orchester des Wandels" since 2022 and hopes to lead the way in the field of climate and environmental protection, helping to shape a sustainable society in a variety of ways.