Generalmusikdirektor (GMD, general music director) is a German title for the artistic director of an orchestra, an institution or a town.[1]

A music director (Latin: director musices) was originally the title of the person responsible for music in a town in Germany and Austria. Johann Sebastian Bach was music director in Leipzig, Georg Philipp Telemann and later Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach were music directors in Hamburg, Robert Schumann was music director in Düsseldorf.[2]

Generalmusikdirektor is a title given by larger towns to a person typically responsible for a symphony orchestra and the opera. The first person with this title was Gaspare Spontini in Berlin in 1819. Currently, Daniel Barenboim has been Generalmusikdirektor of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin from 1992.


  1. Gerald Mertens: Orchestermanagement. VS – Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2010, ISBN 978-3-531-16584-4, S. 132.
  2. Musikdirektor in: Brockhaus Riemann Musiklexikon, p. 7134; BRM Bd. 3, S. 177) (c) Schott
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