The orchestral concerts from 16 to 18 May are dedicated to the memory of Claudio Abbado. The former chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker, who was originally to conduct these concerts, passed away in January 2014. To indicate the gap left by his death, the orchestra will play the first half of the concert – excerpts from Franz Schubert incidental music to Rosamunde and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 with Frank Peter Zimmermann as soloist – without a conductor. After the break, Sir Simon Rattle conducts the Berliner Philharmoniker in a performance of Bruckner's Seventh Symphony. He feels very close to his former colleague and pays tribute to him with the following words: Always a great conductor, his performances in these last years were transcendent, and we all feel privileged to have witnessed them. Personally, he was always immensely kind and generous to me, from my earliest days as a conductor, and we kept warm and funny contact together even up to last Friday. He remains deep in my heart and memory.”
In addition to the concerts, Bettina Erhardt's film Eine Kielspur im Meer (A Trail on the Water) will be shown in the Hermann-Wolff hall in the Philharmonie at 11:00 on 18 May. In the film, the director documents the unique artistic and personal relationship that linked Claudio Abbado with the composer Luigi Nono and pianist Maurizio Pollini. Following the presentation of the film, Helge Grünewald talks to the director and her co-author, the music journalist Wolfgang Schreiber.
In addition, there is a photo exhibition in the foyer of the Philharmonie from 16 May 2014 which focuses on Abbado's time as chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker. The majority of the pictures come from the photographer Cordula Groth, whose camera accompanied Abbado during his Berlin years. The photos show the conductor in rehearsals and concerts with the orchestra in the Berlin Philharmonie and concert tours. Other photos show Abbado with fellow musicians such as Maurizio Pollini and Daniel Barenboim, and with composers such as Luigi Nono. The exhibition is open during the Philharmonie's box-office opening hours, and during concerts in the main auditorium until the end of the season.