Berliner Philharmoniker

The Berliner Philharmoniker, founded in 1882 as a self-governing orchestra, has long been one of the world’s leading orchestras.

In the first decades, Hans von Bülow, Arthur Nikisch and Wilhelm Furtwängler were the defining chief conductors, followed by Herbert von Karajan from 1955. He developed a unique sound aesthetic and playing culture with the Berliner Philharmoniker that made the orchestra famous worldwide. In 1967, Herbert von Karajan founded the Berliner Philharmoniker Easter Festival in Salzburg. Since 2013, it has been held in Baden-Baden. From 1989 to 2002, Claudio Abbado as chief conductor created a new approach to programming, particularly with regard to contemporary compositions. Sir Simon Rattle continued to broaden the repertoire and established innovative concert formats from
2002 to 2018.

2009 saw the launch of the video streaming platform the Digital Concert Hall, which broadcasts the concerts of the Berliner Philharmoniker live and offers them as recordings in the video archive. In 2014, the Berliner Philharmoniker founded their own label: Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings.

Kirill Petrenko has been chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker since 2019. The programmatic focal points of his tenure are the Classical and Romantic repertoire, Russian music and unjustly forgotten compositions. Another key concern for Kirill Petrenko is the orchestra’s education programme, which is aimed at new target groups. Since 2022, the Berliner Philharmoniker and Kirill Petrenko have been ambassadors of UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe, the German partner of the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).

The Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation is supported by the State of Berlin and the German federal government, as well as by the generous participation of Deutsche Bank as its principal sponsor.

June 2023

Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSOA by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.