The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s great success in its early years is due not least to the highly active concert agent Hermann Wolff. The “philharmonic dinners” were legendary: Sunday dinners to which Hermann Wolff and his wife Louise invited the most important musician personages to their home. The “Philharmonic Salon” with Thomas Wittmann as the speaker and members of the Berliner Philharmoniker revives Wolff’s work with the orchestra in the Arthur Nikisch era.
Philharmonic Dinner II - The Hermann and Louise Wolff Concert Agency
The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Arthur Nikisch, from 1895 to 1922 - Music by Gustav Mahler, Ferruccio Busoni, Richard Strauss, Johannes Brahms, Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Antonín Dvořák and other composers, Texts by Theodor Fontane, Edith Stargardt-Wolff, Alexander Moszkowski, Hector Berlioz, Siegfried Ochs, Susanne Stähr and other authors
“It was probably the greatest achievement of the concert agent Hermann Wolff,” Peter Muck wrote in 1982 in his documentation Einhundert Jahre Berliner Philharmonisches Orchester [One Hundred Years of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra] “that when the ‘Berliner Philharmonische Gesellschaft’ disbanded in 1887, he succeeded in winning over Hans von Bülow as conductor of the 10 large Berliner Philharmonisches Orchester concerts that he planned.” He had forged the Meininger Hofkapelle to a first-class ensemble, and in just five years laid the foundation for the distinctive playing culture that became associated with the Berliner Philharmoniker name from that time on. That after Bülow’s death Arthur Nikisch took over directing the orchestra is also thanks to Wolff’s negotiating skills. He also acted as agent, arranging for the orchestra to work with the most famous soloists and best guest conductors of his time.
The “philharmonic dinners” were legendary: Sunday dinners to which Hermann Wolff and his wife Louise (who continued the agency, in existence since 1880, after Wolff’s surprising death) invited the most important musician personages to their home. The second Philharmonic Salon of this season focuses on the concert promoters Hermann and Louise Wolff when Arthur Nikisch was principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. Thomas Wittmann will read texts by Theodor Fontane, Hector Berlioz and Edith Stargardt-Wolff (daughter of Hermann and Louise Wolff); members of the Berlin Philharmonic will play works by Peter Tchaikovsky, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Ferruccio Busoni and others.