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, who stood at the helm from 2002 until the summer of 2018, performed music from the Baroque to the present. Kirill Petrenko began his tenure as Chief Conductor in August 2019; in his inaugural season, he will conduct such symphonic milestones as Beethoven’s Ninth and Mahler’s Sixth as well as music by Sergei  Rachmaninoff and Josef Suk. With its Digital Concert Hall, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2019, the orchestra meanwhile reaches an audience of millions around the world and annually streams 40 concerts live on the Internet. The ensemble has been releasing CDs and DVDs on its in-house Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings label since 2014. Once a year, the musicians also perform as an opera orchestra during their Easter Festival, which has been taking place in Baden-Baden since 2013. The Berlin Philharmonic performed Verdi’s Otello there in 2019, and for 2020 they have programmed Beethoven’s Fidelio, conducted by Petrenko.

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

August 2019