Berlin Philharmonic

In 1882 a group of 54 ambitious musicians in Berlin formed an orchestra to perform concerts under their own aegis, thus giving birth to the Berlin Philharmonic. As their leader they chose Hans von Bülow, one of the finest conductors of the era, who laid the foundations for the Philharmonic’s culture of distinguished playing. His successors have included Arthur Nikisch (1895–1922), Wilhelm Furt-wängler (1922–54), and Herbert von Karajan (1955–89), all of whom developed the signature Berlin sound. It was in the Karajan era that the Berlin Philharmonic attained worldwide fame through its tours and many prize-winning recordings. Since October 1963 the Philharmonic’s home has been the Philharmonie in Berlin, a 2,400-seat concert hall designed by Hans Scharoun. After Karajan’s death in 1989, the players elected Claudio Abbado as their leader. He expanded the repertoire to include contemporary works and introduced program cycles focusing on specific themes. Sir Simon Rattle stood at the helm from 2002 until the summer 2018, performing music from the Baroque to the present. Kirill Petrenko will become his successor in the summer of 2019 but is already conducting the Philharmonic in the current season. The orchestra, which celebrates its 60th anniversary at LUCERNE FESTIVAL this summer, has been forging new paths into the future through its award-winning education program as well as the Digital Concert Hall, which launched in 2009 and which streams many concerts on the Internet. Since 2014 the ensemble has been releasing CDs and DVDs on its in-house Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings label. Once a year, the musicians also perform as an opera orchestra as part of their Easter Festival, which has been taking place in Baden-
Baden since 2013. In 2018 the Berlin Philharmonic performed Wagner’s Parsifal there, and for 2019 they have programmed Verdi’s Otello.

LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) on 30 August 1958 playing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under the direction of Herbert von Karajan.

For further information on this ensemble, visit their homepage at: www.berliner-philharmoniker.de

July 2018