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Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin

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The Konzerthausorchester Berlin is associated closely with its home venue, the Konzerthaus Berlin, where it performs some 100 concerts annually. Even before German reunification, the orchestra began to attract internationally prominent conductors and soloists. The Konzerthausorchester Berlin was founded in 1952 as the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester, or Berlin Symphony Orchestra, in the divided city of Berlin. Located in what was then East Berlin, it was intended as a counterpart to the Berlin Philharmonic and the Berlin Symphony in West Berlin, and it was sometimes confused with the latter. The new orchestra's first conductor was Hermann Hildebrandt, who remained in this post until 1959. The following year, he was replaced by Kurt Sanderling, a German composer of Jewish background who had fled to the Soviet Union in the 1930s and worked with some of that country's legendary conductors. Sanderling remained on the podium until 1979 and built the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester into an orchestra of international repute. In 1984, the orchestra moved into a newly rebuilt theater called the Schauspielhaus Berlin that had originally been built in 1821 but was destroyed at the end of World War II. In 1989, upon German reunification, the orchestra was threatened with dissolution, but it was saved by vigorous support from its subscriber base. The Schauspielhaus Berlin building was renamed the Konzerthaus Berlin in 2006, and the orchestra was renamed the Konzerthausorchester Berlin. Its conductors in the post-unification era have included Eliahu Inbal (2001-2006), Iván Fischer (2012-2018), and Christoph Eschenbach (2019-). The orchestra has become known for novel programming initiatives, including pop-up concerts, all-request shows, concerts for children in socioeconomically distressed areas of Berlin, and "Right in the Middle" concerts where the audience is seated within the group of musicians. The orchestra performs some 100 concerts yearly at the Konzerthaus and also maintains a smaller Konzerthaus Kammerorchester or Chamber Orchestra. Its motto is "Ihr seid Berlin. Wir sind der Klang" (You are Berlin. We are the sound.). Beginning in the late 2000s decade, the orchestra undertook a series of recordings of orchestral works by Andrzej Panufnik for the CPO label. That partnership continued with recordings of unusual cello concertos by Jewish composers featuring cellist Raphael Wallfisch. In 2021, Eschenbach made his recording debut with the orchestra on the Alpha label, offering an album of orchestral music by Carl Maria von Weber.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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