On tour

The concert tours of the Berliner Philharmoniker

2016: Public screening in Taipei
(Photo: Monika Rittershaus)

Touring is in the blood of the Berliner Philharmoniker – and has been from the very beginning. Just a few days after the orchestra was founded in 1882, the musicians embarked on their first, short tour. To this day, touring is an important aspect in the lives of the Philharmoniker. However, the reasons for touring have changed. While the tours in the early years were primarily intended to ensure the economic survival of the still young ensemble – the annual trip to the Dutch seaside resort of Scheveningen, where the Philharmoniker entertained its glamorous spa guests between 1885 and 1911 should be mentioned in this context – the orchestra grew more and more into the role of a musical ambassador as its reputation grew.

Out into the world

At the request of Emperor Wilhelm II, the orchestra travelled to Moscow to give a concert for the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II in 1896. The first guest performance in Paris, which took place the following year under the direction of the then chief conductor Arthur Nikisch, is also legendary: the Parisians were still suffering after their defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, and the police president feared riots against the German musicians. But Nikisch and the Philharmoniker delighted audiences with their music-making and in the end gained a loyal fan base. In the era of Wilhelm Furtwängler, the orchestra’s touring activities experienced further highlights. For the conductor, it was beyond question that the tours broadened the musicians’ horizons and made them more cosmopolitan. After the terrors of National Socialism and the Second World War, it was necessary to regain lost international prestige – and here too the Berliner Philharmoniker played a decisive role as “musical icebreakers”. During the first US tour in 1955 with Herbert von Karajan, for example, the Philharmoniker were initially met with “Nazis go home” placards, but dispelled all resentment with their appearances and their playing. The first tours to Japan and China were also dedicated to international understanding, not to forget the two emotional trips to Israel in the early 1990s.

Global players

In the Claudio Abbado era, the Berliner Philharmoniker established the “European” concerts, which take place every year on 1 May in places of cultural and historical importance on the continent. With Sir Simon Rattle, the Philharmoniker ventured repeatedly to “new shores”: Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, Abu Dhabi, Sidney... Today, the orchestra, in which musicians from 28 nations play, is a global player with fans all over the world. The example of the Digital Concert Hall, the orchestra’s virtual concert hall, shows just how inspiring touring can be for its members: without the overwhelming experience of their tours and of having a large fan base overseas, the idea for this Internet platform would certainly never have come about.

In Germany, Europe, Israel and Japan

This season, too, the tours reach far around the globe. After the traditional festival tour at the beginning of the season which the Philharmoniker undertook with its new chief conductor, they are travelling to Japan as part of the overseas tour in November. They will be accompanied by a long-standing artistic friend: Zubin Mehta, who has been an honorary member of the orchestra since February 2019. Kirill Petrenko joins the orchestra again in February, when the Philharmoniker go on tour and introduce themselves with their new chief conductor to a number of German cities. The next concert tour with Petrenko follows in May; starting with the European Concert which – to commemorate of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp and the end of the Second World War – takes place in Tel Aviv, followed by further stations in Jerusalem, Budapest, Prague, Vienna, Amsterdam, Brussels and Luxembourg. The tour programme of works by Gustav Mahler allows the new chief conductor to present himself with the Philharmoniker for the first time as a Mahler interpreter – as the highlight of an exciting year of tours.

1897: Arthur Nikisch and the Berliner Philharmoniker in Paris
(Photo: Archiv Berliner Philharmoniker)
Wilhlem Furtwängler on a concert tour
(Photo: Archiv Berliner Philharmoniker)
1955: Demonstrations during the first tour to the USA
(Photo: Archiv Berliner Philharmoniker)
1979: First guest appearance in China with Herbert von Karajan
(Photo: Gustav Zimmermann)
1991: First European concert in Prague with Claudio Abbado
(Photo: EuroArts Music)
2011: Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker are celebrated by fans

Concerts

Monday,

17 Feb 2020,
20:00

Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg

Tour

Mon, 17 Feb 2020, 20:00
Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg

Berliner Philharmoniker

Kirill Petrenko conductor

Works by Igor Stravinsky, Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Sergei Rachmaninov

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Tuesday,

18 Feb 2020,
19:30

Hannover Congress Centrum, Kuppelsaal

Tour

Tue, 18 Feb 2020, 19:30
Hannover Congress Centrum, Kuppelsaal

Berliner Philharmoniker

Kirill Petrenko conductor

Works by Igor Stravinsky, Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Sergei Rachmaninov

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Wednesday,

19 Feb 2020,
20:00

Kölner Philharmonie

Tour

Wed, 19 Feb 2020, 20:00
Kölner Philharmonie

Berliner Philharmoniker

Kirill Petrenko conductor

Works by Igor Stravinsky, Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Sergei Rachmaninov

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Thursday,

20 Feb 2020,
20:00

Alte Oper Frankfurt

Tour

Thu, 20 Feb 2020, 20:00
Alte Oper Frankfurt

Berliner Philharmoniker

Kirill Petrenko conductor

Works by Igor Stravinsky, Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Sergei Rachmaninov

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Friday,

21 Feb 2020,
19:30

Kulturpalast Dresden

Tour

Fri, 21 Feb 2020, 19:30
Kulturpalast Dresden

Berliner Philharmoniker

Kirill Petrenko conductor

Works by Igor Stravinsky, Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Sergei Rachmaninov

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Saturday,

04 Apr 2020,
18:00

Festspielhaus Baden-Baden

Tour

Sat, 04 Apr 2020, 18:00
Festspielhaus Baden-Baden

Berliner Philharmoniker

Kirill Petrenko conductor

Marlis Petersen soprano

Hanna-Elisabeth Müller soprano

Peter Rose bass

Wolfgang Koch baritone

Matthew Polenzani tenor

Tareq Nazmi bass

Paul Schweinester tenor

Mateja Koležnik stage direction

CHORWERK RUHR

Ludwig van Beethoven Fidelio, op. 72 (3rd version from 1814)

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Sunday,

05 Apr 2020,
11:00

Brenners Park-Hotel, Orangerie, Baden-Baden

Tour

Sun, 05 Apr 2020, 11:00
Brenners Park-Hotel, Orangerie, Baden-Baden

Philharmonic Salon

Götz Teutsch speaker and programme supervsion

Cordelia Höfer piano

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Sunday,

05 Apr 2020,
14:00

Kurhaus Baden-Baden, Weinbrennersaal

Tour

Sun, 05 Apr 2020, 14:00
Kurhaus Baden-Baden, Weinbrennersaal

Jonathan Kelly oboe

Alexander Bader clarinet

Sarah Willis french horn

Stefan Schweigert bassoon

Emmanuel Pahud flute

Works by Ludwig van Beethoven

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