Featuring numerous never before seen photographs and historical documents, this exhibition in the foyer of the Philharmonie remembers the old Philharmonie in Bernburger Straße, the home of the Berliner Philharmoniker and a hotspot in Berlin’s social life. The orchestra’s first home, a converted skating rink, was a privately owned and run company which made its facilities available for a wide range of events: it provided a stage for great concerts with artists such as Pablo Casals, Fritz Kreisler and Bruno Walter; Igor Stravinsky presented his Piano Concerto under the baton of Wilhelm Furtwängler, and the Comedian Harmonists, a German close harmony ensemble of the 1920s and 30s, performed their greatest hits there.
The old Philharmonie was also a venue for political party conferences and festive balls, it was a place for dancing and having a good time, Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein gave widely acclaimed speeches, delegates of the Antifaschistische Aktion and the Berlin branch of the Zionist Federation of Germany held meetings there. The exhibition also goes backstage, where box-office and marketing staff, management, technicians and telephone operators all contributed to the success of the events. The destruction of the building during an air-raid on 30 January 1944 is also documented.
A digital reconstruction gives an impression of interior of the concert hall. The exhibition The old Philharmonie – A Berlin legend is open until the end of January 2017 and can be visited during box-office opening times and concerts in the Philharmonie. An exhibition catalogue is available in the Philharmonie shop.