The Berliner Philharmoniker
The Berliner Philharmoniker, founded in 1882 as a self-governing body, has long been esteemed as
one of the world’s greatest orchestras.
Hans von Bülow, Arthur Nikisch and Wilhelm Furtwängler were the orchestra’s first chief conductors, leaving their distinctive mark on the Berliner Philharmoniker in its early years. In 1955 Herbert von Karajan became the orchestra’s artistic director and, during the ensuing years, worked with the musicians to develop a unique tonal quality and performing style that made the Berliner Philharmoniker famous throughout the world. Claudio Abbado, chief conductor from 1989 to 2002, devised a new type of programming, with increased emphasis on contemporary works, additional chamber music series and concert performances of operas. He was followed by Sir Simon Rattle, who led the orchestra from September 2002 until the end of the 2017/2018 season. During his tenure, the Education Programme of the Berliner Philharmoniker was initiated to ensure that the orchestra reaches a wider and, especially, younger audience. In November 2007, the orchestra and its artistic director Sir Simon Rattle were appointed as UNICEF goodwill ambassadors, the first artistic ensemble to receive this honour.
In 2009, the Digital Concert Hall was launched, an innovative video platform in which concerts of the Berliner Philharmoniker are broadcast live over the Internet and are available as recordings in the video archive. In 2014 the orchestra founded its own label, Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings.
During an orchestra assembly on 21 June 2015, Kirill Petrenko was elected by a large majority of the orchestra members as the new chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker. He takes up his position at the opening of the 2019/2020 season.
The Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation enjoys the generous support of the state of Berlin, the Federal Government and its principal sponsor, the Deutsche Bank.
Helena Madoka Berg
Luiz Felipe Coelho
Angelo de Leo
Christoph von der Nahmer
Martin von der Nahmer
Joaquín Riquelme García
Stefan de Leval Jezierski
Jesper Busk Sørensen
Alexander von Puttkamer
(updated July 2019)