The Berliner Philharmoniker arrived home again after a successful Asian tour. To conclude their Beethoven cycle, they first played two concerts at the National Chiang Kai-Shek Cultural Center in Taipei, with Symphonies No. 1, 2 and 9 on the programme. The concerts in Taiwan were presented by MNA. Both concerts were also broadcast live on the square in front of the concert hall and in several other cities in Taiwan. More than 40,000 people were thus able to enjoy the concerts in Taiwan alone. The concert on 7 May was also shown live in the orchestra’s Digital Concert Hall and can be accessed in the archive.
The tour then took the orchestra to Suntory Hall in Tokyo, where the complete cycle of all the Beethoven symphonies was again presented during five sold-out concerts. A great honour for the Berliner Philharmoniker was the attendance of the Emperor and Empress of Japan at the concert on 13 May. The concerts in Tokyo were presented in cooperation with Fuji and TDK. In addition to the concerts, there were numerous opportunities for music lovers in Japan to come in direct contact with the orchestra musicians and Chief Conductor Sir Simon Rattle, whether during autograph sessions for the newly released CD of the Beethoven cycle or at the many concerts by chamber ensembles from the Berliner Philharmoniker. Sir Simon Rattle expressed his enthusiasm about the audiences during press conferences in Taipei and Tokyo: “Almost nowhere else in the world is there as much concentration, excitement and enthusiasm as we encounter here. We are extremely grateful to our local partners that we were able to present our Beethoven cycle, which was so central for us this season, here as well.”
Several of the chamber concerts were benefit performances for the victims of the earthquake at Fukushima in 2011 and the latest earthquake at Kumamoto in April 2016. A special experience for Sir Simon Rattle and General Manager Martin Hoffmann was a meeting with representatives from the Fukushima TV Junior Orchestra. The Philharmoniker took up collections after the earthquake in 2011 so that the orchestra could continue its activities. Martin Hoffmann commented: “It is very moving for us to see that our involvement actually contributed to the continued existence of this orchestra in a region that was hit so hard by fate.”