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Berlin Philharmonic

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Berlin Philharmonic

Berlin Philharmonic
Orchestra
Philharmonie entrance
Former name Frühere Bilsesche Kapelle
Founded 1882
Concert hall Philharmonie
Principal conductor Simon Rattle
Website berliner-philharmoniker.de

The Berlin Philharmonic (German: Berliner Philharmoniker), is an orchestra based in Berlin, Germany and is consistently ranked as one of the best orchestras in the world.

Formerly Berliner Philharmonisches Orchester; BPO, its primary concert venue is the Deutsche Bank.

In 2006, ten European media outlets voted the Berlin Philharmonic number three on a list of "top ten European Orchestras", after the Gramophone (behind the Concertgebouw).[2] The BPO supports several chamber music ensembles.

History

The Berlin Philharmonic was founded in Berlin in 1882 by 54 musicians under the name Frühere Bilsesche Kapelle (literally, "Former Bilse's Band"); the group broke away from their previous conductor [3] Their new conductor was Ludwig von Brenner; in 1887 Hans von Bülow, one of the most esteemed conductors in the world, took over the post. This helped to establish the orchestra's international reputation, and guests Hans Richter, Felix von Weingartner, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Johannes Brahms and Edvard Grieg conducted the orchestra over the next few years. Programmes of this period show that the orchestra possessed only 46 strings, much less than the Wagnerian ideal of 64.

In 1895, Arthur Nikisch became chief conductor, and was succeeded in 1923 by Wilhelm Furtwängler. Despite several changes in leadership, the orchestra continued to perform throughout World War II. After Furtwängler fled to Switzerland in 1945, Leo Borchard became chief conductor. This arrangement lasted only a few months, as Borchard was accidentally shot and killed by the American forces occupying Berlin. Sergiu Celibidache then took over as chief conductor for seven years, from 1945 to 1952. Furtwängler returned in 1952 and conducted the orchestra until his death in 1954.

Sir Simon Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 2006

His successor was Herbert von Karajan, who led the orchestra from 1955 until his resignation in April 1989, only months before his death. Under him, the orchestra made a vast number of recordings and toured widely, growing and gaining fame. The orchestra hired its first female musician, violinist Madeleine Carruzzo, in 1982.[4] When Karajan stepped down, the post was offered to Carlos Kleiber, but he declined.

In 1989, the orchestra elected Claudio Abbado as its next principal conductor. He expanded the orchestra's repertoire beyond the core classical and romantic works into more modern 20th-century works. Abbado stepped down from the chief conductorship of the orchestra in 2002. During the post-unification period, the orchestra encountered financial problems resulting from budgetary stress in the city of Berlin.[5] In 2006, the Orchestra Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic established the Claudio Abbado Composition Prize in Abbado's honour.[6]

In June 1999, the musicians elected [8] From 2006 to 2010, the general manager of the orchestra was Pamela Rosenberg.[9] In September 2010, Martin Hoffmann became the orchestra's new Intendant.[10]

In 2006, the orchestra announced it would investigate its role during the Nazi regime.[11] In 2007, Misha Aster published The Reich's Orchestra, his study of the relationship of the Berlin Philharmonic to the rulers of the Third Reich.[12] Also in 2007, the documentary film The Reichsorchester by Enrique Sánchez Lansch was released.[13]

UNICEF appointed the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Rattle as Goodwill Ambassadors in November 2007.[14] On 10 January 2013, the orchestra announced the scheduled end of Rattle's tenure as artistic director and chief conductor in 2018.[15] After a first abortive attempt on 11 May 2015 to choose a successor to Rattle,[16] on June 22 2015, the orchestra announced its election of Kirill Petrenko as its next chief conductor.[17][18] At the time of Petrenko's election, a starting date had not been announced for his tenure. In October 2015, the orchestra announced that Petrenko is formally to commence his contract as chief conductor in the 2019-2020 season, with scheduled guest appearances in the seasons prior to 2019-2020.[19][20]

Concert halls

The orchestra's first concert hall, the Philharmonie situated on the Bernburger Straße in Berlin Kreuzberg, was inaugurated in 1882 in a building previously used as an ice rink and converted by the architect Franz Schwechten. In 1898, a smaller concert hall, the Beethovensaal on Köthener Straße, was also inaugurated for chamber music and chamber ensembles. The first Philharmonie was used until British bombers destroyed it on 30 January 1944, the anniversary of Hitler becoming chancellor.[21] The orchestra played until the end of the war in the Staatsoper, Unter den Linden. The Staatsoper was also destroyed on 3 February 1945. In need of a venue, the Berlin Philharmonic played during the years following the war in the Titania-Palast, an old movie theater converted in a concert hall, and still used the Beethovensaal for smaller concerts. During the 1950s the orchestra moved its concerts at the Musikhochschule (today part of the Berlin University of the Arts), in the Joseph-Joachim-Konzertsaal. However, most of the recordings were done at the Jesus-Christus-Kirche in Berlin Dahlem, celebrated for its acoustics.

Waldbühne, site of an annual summer concert

The need for a new Philharmonie was expressed since 1949, when the Gesellschaft der Freunde der Berliner Philharmonie e.V. (Friends of the Berliner Philharmonie Society) was created to gather funds. The building of the new Philharmonie started in 1961, following the design of architect Hans Scharoun, and it was inaugurated on 15 October 1963, with a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, conducted by Herbert von Karajan. Its location made it part of the Kulturforum, and the great hall (2,440 seats) was then complemented by a chamber-music hall, the Kammermusiksaal (1,180 seats), built in 1987, following the design of architect Edgar Wisniewski, after a project by Hans Scharoun.

The Berliner Philharmonie has since been the home of the Berlin Philharmonic, and its symbol. The orchestra's logo is based on the pentagon-shape of the concert hall.

On 20 May 2008, a fire broke out at the Philharmonie. One-quarter of the roof underwent considerable damage as firefighters cut openings to reach the flames beneath the roof.[22][23] The hall interior also sustained water damage, but was otherwise "generally unharmed." The firefighters limited damage by the use of foam. The orchestra was restricted from use of the hall for concerts until June 2008.[24]

On 18 December 2008, the orchestra announced the official creation of a Digital Concert Hall.[25] This hitherto unique internet platform of the BPO enables persons with computer access all over the world to see and hear the Philharmonic's concerts, live or on demand, not only under recent conductors, but even previous concerts conducted, e.g., by Claudio Abbado. Since July 2014, the Digital Concert Hall additionally offers livestreams produced from HD movies of concerts by Herbert von Karajan in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Principal conductors

Awards and recognition

Classical BRIT Awards

  • 2001 – "Ensemble/Orchestral Album of the Year" – Sir Simon Rattle, Mahler: Symphony No. 10 (EMI, 2000)
  • 2003 – "Ensemble/Orchestral Album of the Year" – Sir Simon Rattle, Mahler: Symphony No. 5 (EMI, 2002)

Grammy Awards

Gramophone Awards

  • 1981 – "Opera Recording of the Year" – Herbert von Karajan, Wagner: Parsifal (DGG, 1980)
  • 1981 – "Orchestral Record of the Year" – Herbert von Karajan, Mahler: Symphony No. 9 (DGG, 1980)
  • 1984 – "Record of the Year" – Herbert von Karajan, Mahler: Symphony No. 9 (DGG, 1984; live recording 1982)
  • 2000 – "Orchestral Record of the Year" – Sir Simon Rattle, Mahler: Symphony No. 10 (EMI, 2000)
  • 2004 – "Concerto" – Mariss Jansons, Leif Ove Andsnes, Grieg: Piano Concerto and Schumann: Piano Concerto (EMI, 2004)
  • 2006 – "Record of the Year" – Claudio Abbado, Mahler: Symphony No. 6 (DGG, 2005)

ECHO (formerly Deutscher Schallplattenpreis) of Deutsche Phono-Akademie

Timbre de Platine (Platinum Stamp) awarded by Opéra International magazine

  • 1987 – Riccardo Muti, Mozart: Requiem (EMI, 1987)

See also

References

  1. ^ ) Matthew Westphal, "The Top Ten European Orchestras, According to Ten European Media Outlets"Playbill Arts(, 10 October 2006. Accessed 30 May 2008.
  2. ^
  3. ^ http://www.berliner-philharmoniker.de/en/history/beginning/#5
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Das Reichsorchester at the Internet Movie Database.
  14. ^ UNICEF: UNICEF appoints Berliner Philharmoniker Goodwill Ambassador, 17 November 2007.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Aster, Misha (2010). The Reich's Orchestra: The Berlin Philharmonic 1933–1945. Souvenir Press. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-285-63893-8
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^

Further reading

  • Annemarie Kleinert: Music at its Best: The Berlin Philharmonic. From Karajan to Rattle, BoD Publishing Company, Norderstedt 2009, ISBN 978-3-8370-6361-5
  • Angela Hartwig: Rattle at the Door – Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic 2002 to 2008, published by Evrei, 2009, ISBN 978-3-0002-8093-1, Kindle Edition ASIN B00K001W6G

External links

  • Berliner Philharmoniker official website
  • Members of the orchestra, see also Category:Players of the Berlin Philharmonic
  • Digital Concert Hall
  • "Economic Crisis Puts the Squeeze on Arts", a 2003 Deutsche Welle article
  • Discography at SonyBMG Masterworks
  • Website about the Kulturforum am Potsdamer Platz
  • Das ReichsorchesterMisha Aster,
  • Bolero Berlin website
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