“The Golden Twenties”

A look back at the Berliner Philharmoniker's Online Festival

From 13 to 27 February, the Berliner Philharmoniker celebrated the Berlin of the “Golden Twenties” with an online festival, a time when the world was in upheaval after the First World War and Berlin was the epicentre of artistic Modernism. Together with chief conductor Kirill Petrenko and guests such as Christian Thielemann, Thomas Søndergård, Marie Jacquot and Dagmar Manzel, they brought those years musically to life. And not only that: our editorial asides illuminate different aspects of the dazzling cultural and music scene of the time. This page summarises our concerts and stories for you at a glance.


Particular attention is paid to the music of Kurt Weill, who in that period advanced from an unknown graduate of the Berlin Musikhochschule to a celebrated composer. Discover this rise, from his First Symphony, written while still studying in Ferruccio Busioni’s master class, to his great successes with music from the Threepenny Opera and Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, to his Second Symphony, which he completed while already in exile in France.

Centre of the avant-garde

You can also hear works by composers such as Hanns Eisler, Paul Hindemith, Franz Schreker and Richard Strauss, who also had a decisive influence on the musical discourse of the Weimar Republic. Come with us to the legendary Moka Efti, the fashionable coffee house where the orchestra played the latest jazz hits and people danced full of joie de vivre – and at the same time teetered on the brink of the abyss. 1920s Berlin saw housing shortages and abject poverty, bold dreams of modernity, pleasure-seeking, and nostalgia and violence collide. While the political classes paralysed the republic at the beginning of the 1930s and the country lurched into a dictatorship, the extremes were once again pushed to the limit in Berlin. Join us in the fascinating world of Berlin’s “Roaring Twenties”!

A note aside