Berliner Philharmonie

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Berliner Philharmonie
Berlin - Philharmonie Kulturforum Nacht.jpg
Entrance to the concert hall
General information
Type Concert Hall
Location Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany
Address Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße 1, 10785 Berlin
Coordinates 52°30′36″N 013°22′12″E / 52.51000°N 13.37000°E / 52.51000; 13.37000Coordinates: 52°30′36″N 013°22′12″E / 52.51000°N 13.37000°E / 52.51000; 13.37000
Construction started 1960
Completed 1963

The Berliner Philharmonie is a concert hall in Berlin, Germany. Home to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the building is acclaimed for both its acoustics and its architecture.

The Philharmonie lies on the south edge of the city's Tiergarten and just west of the former Berlin Wall, an area that for decades suffered from isolation and drabness but that today offers ideal centrality, greenness, and accessibility, its cross street and postal address is Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße, named for the orchestra's longest-serving principal conductor. The neighborhood, often dubbed the Kulturforum, can be reached on foot from the Potsdamer Platz station.

Actually a two-venue facility with connecting lobby, the Philharmonie comprises a Großer Saal of 2,440 seats for orchestral concerts and a chamber-music hall, the Kammermusiksaal, of 1,180 seats. Though conceived together, the smaller venue was added only in the 1980s.


Performance of Judas Maccabaeus (Handel) by Kulturbund Deutscher Juden orchestra, in the (Bernburger Straße) Berliner Philharmonie. Conductor: Kurt Singer. 7/8 May 1934

Hans Scharoun designed the hall,[1] which was constructed over the years 1960–1963 (open on October 15, 1963 Concert Beethoven Symphony No.9 Herbert von Karajan cond. BPO), it was built to replace the old Philharmonie, destroyed by British bombers on 30 January 1944, the eleventh anniversary of Hitler becoming Chancellor.[2] The hall is a singular building, asymmetrical and tentlike, with the main concert hall in the shape of a pentagon, the seating offers excellent positions from which to view the stage through the irregularly increasing height of the seat rows. The stage is at the center of the hall, with seats surrounding it on all sides, the Philharmonie is highly regarded for the quality of its acoustics. The so-called vineyard-style seating arrangement (with terraces rising around a central orchestral platform) was pioneered by this building, and became a model for other concert halls, including the Sydney Opera House (1973), Denver's Boettcher Concert Hall (1978), the Gewandhaus in Leipzig (1981), Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (2003), and the Philharmonie de Paris (2014).[3][4]

Berliner Philharmonie Concert Hall
Berliner Philharmonie Concert Hall Entrance in winter
Berliner Philharmonie Concert Hall Entrance in summer

Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck and his quartet recorded three live performances at the hall; Dave Brubeck in Berlin (1964),[5] Live at the Berlin Philharmonie (1970),[6] and We're All Together Again for the First Time (1973).[7] Miles Davis's 1969 live performance at the hall has also been released on DVD.[8]

On 20 May 2008 a fire broke out at the hall. A quarter of the roof suffered considerable damage as firefighters cut openings to reach the flames beneath the roof,[3][9] the hall interior sustained water damage but was otherwise "generally unharmed". Firefighters limited damage using foam,[10] the cause of the fire was attributed to welding work, and no serious damage was caused either to the structure or interior of the building.[11] Performances resumed, as scheduled, on 1 June 2008 with a concert by the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.[12]

   The Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (with chorus on the steps behind) in the Philharmonie.
   The audience galleries are all surrounding the concert desk (two prominent galleries are visible on the rear). From the ceiling the installations (microphones, video cameras etc.) for the livestream transmission of the concert through the Digital Concert Hall of the Berlin Philharmonic can be seen.


Main organ[edit]

The main organ was built by Karl Schuke (de), Berlin, in 1965, and renovated in 1992 and 2012. It has four manuals and 72 stops, the pipes of the choir organ and the Tuba 16' and Tuba 8' stops are not assigned to any group and can be played from all four manuals and the pedals.

I Positiv C–a3
Quintadena 16′
Principal 8′
Spillpfeife 8′
Gedackt 8′
Oktave 4′
Blockflöte 4′
Waldfllöte 2′
Sesquialtera II 22/3
Nassat 11/3
Mixtur IV–VI 11/3
CymbelIII 11/3
Cor anglais 16′
Cromorne 8′
II Hauptwerk C–a3
Principal 16′
Oktave 8′
Spielflöte 8′
Rohrflöte 8′
Oktave 4′
Gedacktflöte 4′
Nassat 22/3
Oktave 2′
Mixtur major VI–VIII 2′
Mixtur major IV 2/3
Bombarde 16′
Trompete 8′
Trompete 4′
Tuba 16′
Tuba 08′
III Oberwerk (schwellbar) C–a3
Holzgedackt 8′
Quintadena 8′
Principal 4′
Rohrflöte 4′
Oktave 2′
Gemshorn 2′
Terz 13/5
Quinte 11/3
Septime 11/7
Sifflöte 1′
None 8/9
Scharff IV–V 1′
Dulcian 16′
Trichterregal 8′
IV Récit (schwellbar) C–a3
Bordun 16′
Holzflöte 8′
Gemshorn 8′
Gedackt 8′
Unda maris 8′
Principal 4′
Flûte douce 4′
Quintflöte 22/3
Nachthorn 2′
Terz 13/5
Flageolett 1′
Forniture V 22/3
Scharffcymbel III 1/2
Trompete 16′
Trompete harmonique 8′
Oboe 8′
Clairon 4′
Pedal C–g1
Principal 32′
Principal 16′
Flötenbass 16′
Subbass 16′
Oktave 8′
Gedackt 8′
Oktave 4′
Rohrpommer 4′
Bauernflöte 2′
Hintersatz VI 22/3
Posaune 32′
Posaune 16′
Fagott 16′
Trompete 8′
Schalmei 4′

Choir organ[edit]

I Manual
Principal 08′
Gemshorn 08′
Oktave 04′
Trichterflöte 02′
Mixtur III–IV 02′
II Manual
Gedackt 08′
Salicional 08′
Principal 04′
Spitzflöte 04′
Waldflöte 02′
Scharff III 01′
Pedal C–
Subbass 16′

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Osborne, Richard (1998). Herbert von Karajan: A Life in Music. Chatto & Windus. pp. 475f. ISBN 1-55553-425-2. 
  2. ^ Aster, Misha (2010). The Reich's Orchestra: The Berlin Philharmonic 1933–1945. Souvenir Press. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-285-63893-8. 
  3. ^ a b Kate Connolly (21 May 2008). "Musicians flee Philharmonic fire in Berlin". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  4. ^ Design Build Network. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  5. ^ Dave Brubeck in Berlin at AllMusic
  6. ^ Live at the Berlin Philharmonie at AllMusic
  7. ^ We're All Together Again for the First Time at AllMusic
  8. ^ Miles Davis website album entry Archived February 6, 2015, at the Wayback Machine., accessed April 12, 2015
  9. ^ Nicholas Kulish and Daniel J. Wakin (21 May 2008). "Fire Under Control at Home of Berlin Philharmonic". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  10. ^ Daniel J. Wakin (22 May 2008). "Hall Interior in Berlin Intact After Fire". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  11. ^ Stephen McElroy (27 May 2008). "Cause of Fire at Berlin Philharmonic Is Found". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-28. 
  12. ^ Felix Stephan (3 June 2008). "Philharmonie wieder geöffnet: Das Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin nahm den Konzertbetrieb wieder auf". Berliner Morgenpost. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 

External links[edit]