(Photo: Thomas Rosenthal)


Sun, 30 October 2022 “From the Sarabande to the Tango”.
A dance matinee with Bolero Berlin

They call themselves “The Latin Soul of the Berlin Philharmonic”: the four Philharmonic musicians Raphael Haeger, Esko Laine, Manfred Preis and Martin Stegner, who, together with guitarist Paulo Morello and drummer Daniel “Topo” Gioia, devote themselves to Latin American dance music in the ensemble Bolero Berlin. In this autumn matinee, they span an entertaining arc from the sarabande, which originated in Mexico, through the waltz and the bolero to the tango. They will perform works by Bach, Ravel and Weill, but also by Carlos Gardel and Astor Piazzolla – in the original or in sophisticated arrangements. And of course the musicians themselves will have their say.

Sun 12 March 2023 “Music must come from the heart”
A Rachmaninov matinee to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth

Sergei Rachmaninov was born 150 years ago, on 1 April 1873. As a pianist, he quickly aquired legendary status, and also thrilled the audience of the Berliner Philharmoniker with his virtuosity when he performed his Second, Third and Fourth Piano Concertos with the orchestra between 1908 and 1930. But as a composer, he was often described as backward-looking: an all-too-late Romantic who failed to recognise the signs of the times. Only in recent years, after the ideological rifts between the avant-garde and the traditional closed, has Rachmaninov’s music finally gained the recognition it deserves. Who else in the 20th century was capable of writing such beguiling, endless melodies as he was? Of course, they have by a certain melancholy, reminiscent of a perfectly composed farewell. This is no surprise: Rachmaninov knew that he was living in an end time and that the world as he knew and loved it would change. In this musical-literary anniversary matinee, we remember this great artist and perform some of his chamber music works.

Sun 25 June 2023 “How powerful is your magical music”
A flute matinee with Emmanuel Pahud

“A flute like this is worth more than gold or crowns, /for by its power will human joy and contentment be increased”, it says in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, perhaps the most beautiful homage to the instrument. Strangely enough, Mozart himself was not overly fond of the flute. At least that’s what he told his father Leopold when he was supposed to compose a series of flute quartets for a German doctor and amateur flautist in 1777, but couldn’t quite get on with the job. “Then, as you know, I get immediately stuck when I have to write for an instrument I don’t like,” Mozart justified his delay. Whatever “stuck” means: if he had known Emmanuel Pahud, the works would doubtlessly have flowed effortlessly from his pen. The long-time principal flute of the Berliner Philharmoniker will perform three of Mozart’s flute quartets together with violinist Maja Avramović, violist Joaquín Riquelme García and cellist David Riniker – and in conversation will tell us about Mozart’s supposed aversion to the flute.

Other events for all members

Sun 16 April 2023, 16:00, Chamber Music Hall
“Let's talk about music”
The “hip” Philharmoniker

When you hear the word “hip”, you probably first think of something fashionable, something that is particularly trendy at the moment. In music, however, the three letters stand for “historically informed performance”, i.e. for the original sound movement that has also taken hold in the symphonic repertoire since the 1960s and 1970s. With conductors such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt, John Eliot Gardiner and William Christie at the helm, the Berliner Philharmoniker also opened up to this trend. And with some of them, long-standing partnerships have even resulted, such as with the French maestra Emmanuelle Haïm, who returns to the orchestra in March 2023 with Handel’s oratorio Il trionfo del tempo. Not to mention that even many “traditional” conducting stars have benefited from the achievements of historically informed playing. In this panel discussion, we want to explore with orchestra members how much original sound there can be: where are the opportunities, where are the limits?


Wed 10 May 2023, 16:15, Philharmonie
Visit to the final rehearsal with Gustavo Dudamel

The bundle of energy that is thr Venezuelan maestro Gustavo Dudamel is in his element with the music of this programme. For his three concerts in May 2023, he brings a new work by Mexican composer Gabriela Ortíz, born in 1964, who combines contemporary techniques with Afro-Cuban influences. He introduces the Argentinean Alberto Ginastera, who died in 1983 and who – like Béla Bartók in Hungary – enriched his modern tonal language with folk elements from his homeland. And he conducts the main work, the Second Symphony of the unconventional American Charles Ives, who linked the Central European tradition from Bach to Wagner with music from his own world: with hymns, church songs and marches. A musical melting pot!

Further events for sponsors and patrons

Wed 14 December 2022, 16:15, Philharmonie
Visit to the final rehearsal with Christian Thielemann

Sometimes there are combinations of composers and performers that can justifiably be called “dream pairings”. In the case of Christian Thielemann, the Berliner among the world-class conductors, Richard Wagner is likely to be the first to come to mind. Since the beginning of his career, Thielemann has dedicated himself wholeheartedly to the œuvre of the revolutionary “Gesamtkunstwerker”, and it has to be said, his Wagner simply sounds particularly good: he hits the nerve of this music, and knows how to give it an overwhelming effect. But Thielemann could just as easily be called the ideal advocate for Richard Strauss and Hans Pfitzner. Which pairing deserves the crown and how Thielemann makes magic happen can be experienced at this final rehearsal: it brings together Wagner’s prelude to Parsifal with the Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss, introduces orchestral music from Pfitzner’s Palestrina and concludes with a Bach arrangement from the pen of Arnold Schoenberg.

Sun 29 January 2023, 15:30, Chamber Music Hall
“Let’s talk about music”
Rendez-vous with Stefan Dohr

In 2023, Stefan Dohr celebrates an anniversary: the Münster-born musician will then have been associated with the Berliner Philharmoniker as principal horn for thirty years. Over these three decades, he has played a major role in shaping the orchestra’s sound with his accomplished playing. But Stefan Dohr has also written music history: he is to thank for numerous new works composed especially for him, including horn concertos by Toshio Hosokawa, Wolfgang Rihm and Hans Abrahamsen. It is astonishing that, in addition to all his international commitments, he still found time to dedicate himself to the Philharmoniker by serving two terms as orchestra board chairman. In short, Stefan Dohr has a lot to tell, about the music and the daily life of the orchestra. The ideal candidate for a rendez-vous.

Frühere Veranstaltungen


Sun 13 February 2022 “How powerful must be your magic tone!”
A flute matinee with Emmanuel Pahud

The flute has been around for as long as humans have existed. It is mentioned in the Bible and in the great myths of the world. There are gods who play the flute, such as Krishna and Osiris, and virginal nymphs who, fleeing from the meddlesome flute player Pan, turn into reeds. The Pied Piper of Hamelin created a literal following with his flute playing, and in Mozart’s Zauberflöte, Tamino masters the most difficult tests thanks to his instrument – even the water test and baptism of fire cannot harm him. As it says in the first act of the opera, “O such a flute is worth more than gold and crowns, / For through it man's happiness and contentment are increased”. This is what we also want to achieve with our second matinee – and to this end have given Emmanuel Pahud “carte blanche”. A true “Zauberflötist”,Pahud has been principal flute with the Philharmoniker since 1993 and has played a decisive role in shaping the sound of the orchestra. He now presents some of his favourite chamber music – and reveals details about his instrument.

Sat 12 March 2022, 16:00, Chamber Music Hall
“Let’s talk about music” An appointment with Madeleine Carruzzo

Madeleine Carruzzo made music history: in 1982, the Swiss violinist joined the Berliner Philharmoniker, the first woman to do so in the hundred years since the orchestra was founded. She has long since ceased to be the only one, but when she concludes her Philharmoniker career at the end of the 2021/22 season, she will once again set standards as she is the first to retire after a full 40 years’ service. In this encounter with a true “prima donna”, we will look back with Madeleine Carruzzo on her time with the orchestra and relive four decades of exhilarating experiences, exciting changes of eras, and surprising events.

Sun, 24 April 2022, 15:00, Chamber Music Hall
“Let’s talk about music”: the Philharmoniker gene

The Berliner Philharmoniker have an unmistakable sound. And who would disagree with this statement? But what is the nature of this phenomenon? Spanning generations and for which – who knows – certain characteristics have perhaps been passed on since their founding years, how does this continuity of sound come about? This discussion is about fathers and sons who played or play in the ranks of the orchestra, such as Giusto and Alessandro Cappone and Zdzisław and Krzysztof Polonek; about Philharmoniker siblings such as Cornelia and Julia Gartemann and Christoph and Martin von der Nahmer; and above all about the teacher-student relationship, because a good number of today’s orchestra members were trained by older colleagues at the Herbert von Karajan Academy. A genealogical investigation.

Wed 25 May 2022, 16:15, Philharmonie, main auditorium
Dress rehearsal with Paavo Järvi

When Paavo Järvi made his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2000, he could not have imagined the impact it would have. Born in Estonia in 1962, the conductor is now one of the orchestra’s busiest conducting stars and makes a guest appearance here every season. In 2018, he even conducted the Europakonzert at the Margravial Opera House in Bayreuth. Järvi loves the Philharmoniker because every musician there is simply a master of their craft. And the Philharmoniker, for their part, appreciate his tremendous versatility, which can also be enjoyed at this dress rehearsal. The first piece on the programme is Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony, a classic, but one that Järvi fills with drive and pulsating vitality. With Sibelius’ Seventh, he devotes himself to a Scandinavian classic. And in between, he presents a new flute concerto by his compatriot Erkki-Sven Tüür.

Sun 19 June 2022 “When does a genius become a genius?”
A child prodigy matinee

Many musicians drew attention to themselves at an early age and were admired by the world as “child prodigies”. But their fame did not always last long: many experienced that the hysterical enthusiasm of the public turned into total indifference after a few years. Also, the nature of their performances was sometimes more reminiscent of the circus or the funfair, even in the case of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who as a six- or seven-year-old had to perform his piano skills on a keyboard blindfolded. And what to make of the first compositions he created at that age? Was it perhaps his father Leopold who wrote them? How much of the “child prodigy’s” own work is there, or, to put it another way, when does a genius become a genius? This is the question we want to explore in our June matinee. In addition to Mozart, our subjects are Felix Mendelssohn, Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Franz Schubert, who will be represented by works they created between the ages of 10 and 17.


16 January 2021, 15:00, Chamber Music Hall – “Let's talk about music”.
What happens in an orchestra rehearsal?

Anyone who attends a concert knows, of course, that a series of rehearsals precede the result and experience of the evening. But what actually happens in the orchestra's secretive workshop is known to only a few – at best through a few famous anecdotes about rehearsal sourpusses and rehearsal fanatics among conductors. Reason enough to ask three members of the Berliner Philharmoniker about the everyday reality of the intensive and often exhausting rehearsal work. Is it loud or harmonic? How popular are talkative conductors with the musicians? Do they bury themselves in details, or do they look for the big picture? And: who actually has the last word? We will explore these aspects in a discussion with historical and current rehearsal documents.

6 March 2021, 15:30, Hermann Wolff Hall – “Let's talk about music”.
Rendezvous with Emmanuel Pahud

In the third round of our “Rendezvous” series with philharmonic soloists, a wind player will be our guest for the first time: the patrons and sponsors in the circle of friends can look forward to a Saturday afternoon with the flutist Emmanuel Pahud. Music lovers all over the world know and admire the magical sounds that the Geneva-born flutist, who joined the orchestra in 1993 as a very young man, is able to elicit from his instrument. Emmanuel Pahud is also a witty conversationalist who knows how to talk about music with wit and esprit. Of course, he will also talk about his life and give an insight into his everyday life.

21 April 2021, 16:15, Philharmonie
Rehearsal visit for the concert with Mikko Franck and Yefim Bronfman

Anyone who wants to play the solo part in Brahms' First Piano Concerto needs everything that distinguishes an excellent pianist: Power and a firm grip to hold one's own against the omnipresent orchestra in this disguised symphony; extreme virtuosity to master the dreaded octave trills and the delicate fast textures; poetry to capture the romantic soul of the work. And you also have to be able to sing on the keys. The American pianist Yefim Bronfman has all these good gifts and will demonstrate his mastery in this rehearsal. He will be joined by the Finnish conductor Mikko Franck, who will interpret a work from his homeland in the second part: the Fifth Symphony by Jean Sibelius with its hymn-like finale.

20 June 2021 “What the Angels Play in Heaven ...”
A harp matinee

The harp is one of the oldest instruments of all. The biblical story of David, whose heavenly harp playing was even able to brighten the mood of the depressed King Saul, tells of this. Perhaps this is why the harp became a popular attribute in the depiction of angels, right up to Ludwig Thomas' “Munich in Heaven”. It is certain that the harp is one of the heaviest instruments of all – it weighs 35 to 40 kilos. It is undoubtedly one of the most decorative. And what a lot of musical things can be done with it! It can produce arpeggios, glissandi and harmonics, evoke the sound of the wind or the trickling of water with magical sounds. The philharmonic Marie-Pierre Langlamet will present all facets of her harp at this matinee: an instrument of unlimited possibilities.

Sun, 31 October 2021 “I am an eclectic”.
A Saint-Saëns matinee on the 100th anniversary of his death

Everyone knows his Carnival of the Animals. Yet Camille Saint-Saëns had composed this witty “zoological fantasy” only for a carnival party among friends, as a joke, and even refrained from publishing it. It is an irony of history that this work, of all things, has eclipsed the rest of his oeuvre. There is still much to discover there: Saint-Saëns produced real treasures especially in the field of chamber music - no wonder, since as founder of the Société nationale de musique he was one of the pioneers of a new, genuinely French instrumental art. His work reveals an astonishing stylistic diversity: “I am eclectic,” he confessed, adding: “Passionately, I love freedom.” This matinee, which is intended to honour Saint-Saëns, who died on 16 December 1921, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his death, presents some of his most beautiful compositions for ensemble and duo instrumentation. And introduces us to his turbulent life.

Wed, 15 December 2021, 16.15, Philharmonie, Great Hall
Visit to the main rehearsal with Zubin Mehta

This anniversary must be celebrated! On 18 September 1961, no less than sixty years ago, Zubin Mehta conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker for the first time. This makes him - even ahead of Daniel Barenboim - the longest-serving maestro who is still actively associated with the orchestra today. Six decades of collaboration are an unimaginably long time in musical life. When the then 25-year-old Mehta introduced himself on the podium in Berlin, the Philharmonie had not even been built yet. Since then, he has conducted around 175 philharmonic concerts and experienced three generations of orchestras. It is no wonder that Zubin Mehta was appointed an honorary member of the Berliner Philharmoniker in November 2019. He has long since ceased to be a guest here, explained orchestra director Knut Weber in his address, but rather a "friend, role model, artistic advisor, audience favourite and musical authority". You can experience what makes the special chemistry in their artistic partnership at this main rehearsal, when Mehta rehearses Mahler's Second Symphony with the Philharmonic.



3 November 2019
70 Years of the Friends of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
An anniversary matinee

Hard to believe: the “Friends” are turning 70! This must be celebrated! The first matinee of the 2019/20 season is therefore dedicated to our own history. Christina Stresemann, presiding judge at the Federal Court of Justice and deputy chairwoman of the “Freunde” board of trustees, will be the laudator, shedding light on the development of the association: It was founded on 5 October 1949, as a major citizens' initiative to enable the construction of the new Philharmonie, but even after this goal was achieved, there is still much good to be done. As the daughter of long-time artistic director Wolfgang Stresemann, Christina Stresemann has a lot to tell. And of course the Philharmonic Orchestra will also perform for our special day, with the First Serenade by Johannes Brahms in the nonet version.

16 February 2020
“True art is stubborn”
A Beethoven Matinee

Another birthday that no one will miss in 2020: 250 years ago Ludwig van Beethoven was born, and he is said to be the “titan” among composers. In fact, everyone can relate to the name Beethoven, even if they have no connection to classical music. For classical music aficionados, however, Beethoven's art is something like the gateway to Elysium. But how well do we really know Beethoven? In this literary-musical Beethoven matinee, we let contemporary witnesses speak who experienced Beethoven themselves and remember him – “a completely untamed personality” Goethe called him. And we will hear works that one does not encounter every day, indeed that one would perhaps not associate with Beethoven at all. How did the master himself put it? “True art is stubborn.”