Philharmonic Dinner: The Berlin concert agency of Hermann and Louise Wolff, 1880-1935, Part I: The Bülow Years
Works by Joachim Andersen, Ludwig van Beethoven, Benjamin Bilse, Johannes Brahms, Max Bruch, Joseph Joachim, Moritz Moszkowski, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Xaver Scharwenka and Robert Fuchs – Texts by Wilhelm Altmann, Theodor Fontane, Heinrich Grünfeld, Frithjof Haas, Alfred Kerr, Alexander Moszkowski, Siegfried Ochs, Edith Stargardt-Wolff and Volker Tarnow
Hermann Wolff had an entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen and was a skilled pianist. In addition, he had excellent contacts and knew many artists – in brief: he fulfilled all prerequisites to become one of the most influential impresarios of his time. In 1880 he opened his own “Concert Office” in Berlin. It soon controlled the music market of that time. In addition, Wolff played a key role in the founding of the Berliner Philharmoniker and not only placed the most famous soloists and best conductors of his time for the philharmonic subscription concerts he’d organised, but also succeeded in winning over Hans von Bülow as the orchestra’s first chief conductor. Bülow had forged the Meininger Hofkapelle into a first-class ensemble and laid the foundation in just five years for that extraordinary distinctive playing culture that from that time on became associated with the name of the Berliner Philharmoniker. The “philharmonic dinners” were legendary: Sunday dinners to which Hermann Wolff and his wife Louise (who continued the agency after Wolff’s surprising death in 1902 until it was closed in 1935) invited the most important musician personages to their home. The last Philharmonic Salon of this season focuses on the concert promoters Hermann and Louise Wolff – when Hans von Bülow was the chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. In two additional salons in upcoming seasons Götz Teutsch will also examine Hermann and Louise Wolffs’ work in the era of Arthur Nikisch and Wilhelm Furtwängler.