Russia, Romanticism and Modernism

The orchestral concerts of the 2020/21 season

Just one year ago, Kirill Petrenko took up his post as chief conductor of the Philharmoniker – and the magic of that new beginning can still be felt. With the 2020/21 season, Kirill Petrenko ends his term as music director of the Bayerische Staatsoper and will be devoting himself entirely to the Berliner Philharmoniker. This enables him to further develop programmatic strands with the orchestra, for example the focus on German-Austrian Classicism, Romanticism and late Romanticism – for Kirill Petrenko the “most important pillar of our work together” – with the new season featuring works by Brahms, Strauss, Mendelssohn and Mozart.

Another passion of Kirill Petrenko is Russian music, as is shown by two opera productions. First of all there is Tchaikovsky’s both subtle and brutal war drama Mazeppa – in a staged production at the Easter Festival and a concert performance at the Philharmonie. Another opera rarity is on the programme with Rachmaninov’s ecstatic love drama Francesca da Rimini. The music of Russia is one of the main focuses of this season, as demonstrated by performances of works by Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Shostakovich. These concerts are presented by conductors such as Semyon Bychkov, Daniele Gatti and Paavo Järvi.

The Golden Twenties

The Biennale of the Berliner Philharmoniker will take place for the first time in the 2020/21 season. With this new biennial festival, the Berliner Philharmoniker dedicate themselves to one exciting theme each time: this season, the Golden Twenties. Kirill Petrenko will of course be taking part, with Kurt Weill’s Berliner Symphonie among other works. There is also Paul Hindemith’s operatic succès de scandale Mörder, Hoffnung der Frauen with Donald Runnicles, works by Richard Strauss with Christian Thielemann and much more.

Fascinating Fin-de-siècle

Adjacent to the Golden Twenties is another focal point: the fin de siècle, which fluctuates between contemporary euphoria and fear of the future. The music of this period can be heard in Mahler’s Ninth Symphony under Kirill Petrenko and Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, conducted by Susanna Mälkki. In addition, the upcoming season will once again focus on contemporary music – this time with a decidedly female character and works by Sofia Gubaidulina, Olga Neuwirth, Anna Thorvaldsdóttir, Unsuk Chin and Kaija Saariaho.

Friends old and new

There is of course much more to discover besides these programmatic themes: multi-faceted concert programmes with old and new friends of the Berliner Philharmoniker. You can look forward to conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Herbert Blomstedt, Zubin Mehta, Andris Nelsons, Sir Simon Rattle and Tugan Sokhiev. Among the soloists, the violist Tabea Zimmermann holds a special place as artist in residence. Among the violinists this season are Lisa Batiashvili, Baiba Skride and Frank Peter Zimmermann, and the pianists Yefim Bronfman, Seong-Jin Cho, Igor Levit and Daniil Trifonov. Further highlights can be expected when countertenor Philippe Jaroussky and pianist Francesco Piemontesi make their debuts with the Berliner Philharmoniker. The Berliner Philharmoniker look forward to meeting these exciting partners – and of course you.


Our guests

Susanna Mälkki
(Photo: Simon Fowler)
Daniel Barenboim
(Photo: Peter Adamik)
Herbert Blomstedt
(Photo: Martin U. Lengemann)
Daniil Trifonov
(Photo: Dario Acosta)
Lisa Batiashvili
(Photo: Chris Singer)