Konzerthausorchester Berlin can now look back on a history spanning more than 60 years. Founded in 1952 as a state ensemble, it gained international acclaim under the direction of Kurt Sanderling, Chief Conductor from 1960 to 1977. Countless renowned musicians routinely performed with the orchestra, such as violinist David Oistrach and pianist Emil Geilers. Unfortunately at that time, the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester (BSO), as it was called back then, had to travel between several concert venues. Nevertheless, the phenomenal conductor, Kurt Sanderling, managed to create a number of successful subscription series and build a large audience following as a result.
Günter Herbig became Chief Conductor in 1977, followed by Claus Peter in 1984. The orchestra also received its own, long-awaited hall in which to perform at this time. The famous theater at Gendarmenmarkt, an impressive structure designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, was renovated and became the Konzerthaus, finally giving the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester a permanent home. From there, the orchestra embarked on numerous international tours, further solidifying an international reputation of excellence for the ensemble.
During Michael Schønwandt’s time in office (1992-1998), the BSO officially became the house orchestra at Konzerthaus Berlin.
Under the next conductor, Eliahu Inbal, the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester went on an exceptionally successful tour to Japan, performing 15 concerts in 13 cities. Further international tours to Spain, China and Korea followed.
2006 brought the beginning of a new chapter in the orchestra’s history. Not only did the orchestra get a new Chief Conductor, Lothar Zagrosek, it also received a new name: the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester became the Konzerthausorchester Berlin. The name reflects the deep connection between the ensemble and it’s house. With nearly 100 concerts per season, it has a significant influence on the over all concert schedule at Konzerthaus Berlin. The ensemble’s repertoire and range of styles in continuously being expanded, with music from Monteverdi to Lachenmann being performed with equal competence. The orchestra is continually rejuvenating itself by accepting new musicians to its ranks. By founding the Orchestra Academy in 2010, the house also took a large step towards developing musicians for the next generation.
Iván Fischer became the new Chief Conductor of Konzerthausorchester Berlin in the 2012/13 season. Dmitrij Kitajenko serves as the primary guest conductor.
The first honorary guest conductor and honorary member of the orchestra is Michael Gielen. Kurt Sanderling, who passed away on September 18, 2011, is the honorary conductor and is also an honorary member of the orchestra. Eliahu Inbal was also named honorary member of the orchestra.
Today the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, with over 12,000 subscription patrons, has one of the largest subscribing audience bases of any ensemble in Germany.