The premiere of his Eighth Symphony in 1910 was Gustav Mahler’s greatest triumph as a composer. The fact that he entrusted the orchestra of the Konzertverein München, today's Munich Philharmonic, with the premiere of this monumental work confirms the impressive quality and outstanding reputation that the orchestra had gained only 17 years after its founding and continues to maintain to this day. So significant to its own history, the orchestra commemorated the premiere 100 years later when it performed Mahler's symphony again under the direction of its then principal conductor Christian Thielemann.
The Munich Philharmonic is internationally considered as one of the world’s finest interpreters of a symphonic repertoire that ranges from the classical period to the present. Of particular importance are the works of Anton Bruckner, forming part of the orchestra’s DNA thanks to Bruckner student Ferdinand Loewe, who served as its principal conductor in 1897/1898 and then between 1908 and 1914. Following distinguished conductors Felix Weingartner, Hans Rosbaud, and Rudolf Kempe, Sergiu Celibidache built on Loewe’s first-hand experience, effectively deepening his work. Leading the orchestra from 1979 until his death in 1996, the Romanian conductor garnered an almost cult-like following and became revered for his Bruckner interpretations. Despite opposing the principle of commercial recordings, much of his work and the era he led has been preserved in audio and video footage. Celibidache's successors Christian Thielemann and Valery Gergiev (who was Chief Conductor from 2015 to 2022) have both released complete recordings of the Bruckner symphonies with the Philharmonic as well, marking new and important chapters in the history of the Bavarian capital orchestra.
Since the orchestras own concert hall, the Philharmonie im Gasteig, closed for renovations, the Munich Philharmonic currently performs in the Isarphilharmonie, which was praised for its unusual atmosphere and outstanding acoustics when it opened in 2021.