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Berliner Philharmoniker

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Known as one of the world's finest orchestras, Berliner Philhamoniker has performed and recorded the symphonies and choral works of the great classical music composers since it was founded in 1882. It has been led by a series of major conductors including Austria's Herbert von Karajan and England's Simon Rattle, who was succeeded in 2019 by Kirill Petrenko from Russia. The orchestra performs more than 100 concerts a year at the Berlin Philharmonie and tours internationally. It has made thousands of recordings and won Grammy Awards and Gramophone Awards. The orchestra grew out of the Bilse Kapelle, which was established in the 1860s by Prussian composer and conductor Benjamin Bilse with 60 players. Entrepreneur Hermann Wolff oversaw its transition and growth as the Berliner Philharmoniker under the baton of Ludwig von Brenner and then of Hans von Bülow, who invited composers including Brahms, Strauss and Tchaikovsky to be guest conductors. Hans Richter, Richard Strauss and others stepped in after Von Bülow died until Arthur Nikisch from Hungary was named resident conductor. He was succeeded in 1922 by Wilhelm Furtwängler, who was imprisoned during World War II. The orchestra survived through the conflict although its venue was bombed and in time, Furtwängler resumed with Romanian Sergiu Celibidach until he died in 1954. Von Karajan took the baton the following year to be followed in 1989 by Italian Claudio Abbado, who remained until Simon Rattle took over in 2002. Rattle held the position for 16 years, passing the baton to Russian/Austrian conductor Kirill Petrenko, who began his tenure in 2019. Celebrated for its lyrical qualities, the Berliner Philharmoniker has played and recorded not only the classic compositions but also works by contemporary composers such as Debussy and Stravinksy. It has attracted guest conductors including Felix von Weingartner, Edvard Grieg and Gustav Mahler. Great artists who have performed with the orchestra include Daniel Barenboim, Yehudi Menuhin and Luciano Pavarotti. There have been many releases on all formats – LP, CD, cassette, Blu-Ray, and DVD - under the Berlin Philharoniker name including 2018’s six vinyl LP box set Berlin Philharmiker: Legendary Recordings.


©Copyright Music Story Stephen Schnee 2021
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