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Berliner Philharmonie

Coordinates: 52°30′36″N 013°22′12″E / 52.51000°N 13.37000°E / 52.51000; 13.37000
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Berliner Philharmonie
General information
TypeConcert hall
LocationTiergarten, Berlin, Germany
AddressHerbert-von-Karajan-Straße 1, 10785 Berlin
Coordinates52°30′36″N 013°22′12″E / 52.51000°N 13.37000°E / 52.51000; 13.37000
Construction started1960

The Berliner Philharmonie (German: [bɛʁˌliːnɐ fɪlhaʁmoˈniː] ) is a concert hall in Berlin, Germany, and home to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Philharmonie lies on the south edge of the city's Tiergarten and just west of the former Berlin Wall. The Philharmonie is on Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße, named for the orchestra's longest-serving principal conductor. The building forms part of the Kulturforum complex of cultural institutions close to Potsdamer Platz.

The Philharmonie consists of two venues, the Grand Hall (Großer Saal) with 2,440 seats and the Chamber Music Hall (Kammermusiksaal) with 1,180 seats. Though conceived together, the smaller hall was opened in the 1980s, some twenty years after the main building.


Performance of Judas Maccabaeus (Handel) by Kulturbund Deutscher Juden orchestra, in the (Bernburger Straße) Berliner Philharmonie. Conductor: Kurt Singer. 7/8 May 1934

Hans Scharoun designed the building,[1] which was constructed over the years 1960–1963. It opened on 15 October 1963 with Herbert von Karajan conducting Beethoven's 9th Symphony. It was built to replace the old Philharmonie, destroyed by British bombers on 30 January 1944, the eleventh anniversary of Hitler becoming Chancellor.[2] The hall is a singular building, asymmetrical and tentlike, with the main concert hall in the shape of a pentagon. The height of the rows of seats increases irregularly with distance from the stage. The stage is at the centre of the hall, surrounded by seating on all sides. The so-called vineyard-style seating arrangement (with terraces rising around a central orchestral platform) was pioneered by this building, and became a model for other concert halls, including the Sydney Opera House (1973), Denver's Boettcher Concert Hall (1978), the Gewandhaus in Leipzig (1981), Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (2003), and the Philharmonie de Paris (2014).[3][4]

Berliner Philharmonie Concert Hall
Berliner Philharmonie Concert Hall Entrance in winter
Berliner Philharmonie Concert Hall Interior

Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck and his quartet recorded three live performances at the hall; Dave Brubeck in Berlin (1964),[5] Live at the Berlin Philharmonie (1970),[6] and We're All Together Again for the First Time (1973).[7] Miles Davis's 1969 live performance at the hall has also been released on DVD.[8]

On 20 May 2008 a fire broke out at the hall. A quarter of the roof suffered considerable damage as firefighters cut openings to reach the flames beneath the roof.[3][9] The hall interior sustained water damage but was otherwise "generally unharmed". Firefighters limited damage using foam.[10] The cause of the fire was attributed to welding work, and no serious damage was caused either to the structure or interior of the building.[11] Performances resumed, as scheduled, on 1 June 2008 with a concert by the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.[12]

   The Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (with chorus on the steps behind) in the Philharmonie.
   The audience galleries are all surrounding the concert desk (two prominent galleries are visible on the rear). From the ceiling the installations (microphones, video cameras etc.) for the livestream transmission of the concert through the Digital Concert Hall of the Berlin Philharmonic can be seen.



Main organ


The main organ was built by the Karl Schuke Orgelbauwerkstatt, Berlin, in 1965, and renovated in 1992, 2012 and 2016. It has four manuals and 91 stops. The pipes of the choir organs and the Tuba 16' and Tuba 8' stops are not assigned to any group and can be played from all four manuals and the pedals.

I Main C–a3
Principal 16′
Oktave 08′
Doppelflöte 08′
Rohrflöte 08′
Oktave 04′
Gedacktflöte 04′
Nassat 02 2/3′
Oktave 02′
Mixtur major VI–VIII 02′
Mixtur minor IV 02/3′
Bombarde 16′
Trompete 08′
Bassethorn 08′
Tuba (en Chamade) 16′
Tuba (en Chamade) 08′
II Positiv C–a3
Quintadena 16′
Principal 08′
Spillpfeife 08′
Gedackt 08′
Oktave 04′
Blockflöte 04′
Waldflöte 02′
Sesquialtera II 02 2/3′
Nassat 1/3
Mixtur IV–VI 01 1/3′
Cymbel III 01 1/3′
Cor anglais 16′
Cromorne 08′
III Récit (enclosed) C–a3
Bordun 16′
Holzflöte 08′
Gambe 08′
Gedackt 08′
Voix céleste 08′
Principal 04′
Flûte douce 04′
Quintflöte 02 2/3′
Nachthorn 02′
Terz 01 3/5′
Flageolett 01′
Forniture V 02 2/3′
Scharffcymbel III 01/2′
Trompete 16′
Trompete harmonique 08′
Oboe 08′
Clairon 04′
IV Solo (enclosed) C–a3
Salicional 08′
Holzgedackt 08′
Gemshorn 08′
Principal 04′
Rohrflöte 04′
Oktave 02′
Gemshorn 02′
Terz 01 3/5′
Quinte 01 1/3′
Septime 01 1/7′
Sifflöte 01′
None 08/9′
Scharff IV–V 01′
Dulcian 16′
Voix humaine 08′
Pedal C–g1
Gravissima 64'
Principal 32′
Flötenbass 32'
Principal 16′
Flötenbass 16′
Subbass 16′
Zartbass 16′
Oktave 08′
Gedackt 08′
Oktave 04′
Rohrpommer 04′
Bauernflöte 02′
Hintersatz VI 02 2/3′
Posaune 32′
Posaune 16′
Fagott 16′
Trompete 08′
Schalmei 04′

Choir organ

Choir organ (left)
Bourdon 16'
Principal 08′
Bourdon 08′
Gemshorn 08′
Oktave 04′
Trichterflöte 02′
Basson Hautbois 08′
Choir organ (right)
Flûte harmonique 08′
Salicional 08′
Prinzipalflöte 04′
Sesquialtera II 02 2/3′
Waldflöte 02′
Clarinette 08′
Subbass 16′

See also



  1. ^ Osborne, Richard (1998). Herbert von Karajan: A Life in Music. Chatto & Windus. pp. 475f. ISBN 1-55553-425-2.
  2. ^ Aster, Misha (2010). The Reich's Orchestra: The Berlin Philharmonic 1933–1945. Souvenir Press. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-285-63893-8.
  3. ^ a b Kate Connolly (21 May 2008). "Musicians flee Philharmonic fire in Berlin". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 May 2008.
  4. ^ Design Build Network. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  5. ^ Dave Brubeck in Berlin at AllMusic
  6. ^ Live at the Berlin Philharmonie at AllMusic
  7. ^ We're All Together Again for the First Time at AllMusic
  8. ^ Miles Davis website album entry Archived 6 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 12 April 2015
  9. ^ Nicholas Kulish and Daniel J. Wakin (21 May 2008). "Fire Under Control at Home of Berlin Philharmonic". New York Times. Retrieved 22 May 2008.
  10. ^ Daniel J. Wakin (22 May 2008). "Hall Interior in Berlin Intact After Fire". New York Times. Retrieved 22 May 2008.
  11. ^ Stephen McElroy (27 May 2008). "Cause of Fire at Berlin Philharmonic Is Found". New York Times. Retrieved 28 May 2008.
  12. ^ Felix Stephan (3 June 2008). "Philharmonie wieder geöffnet: Das Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin nahm den Konzertbetrieb wieder auf". Berliner Morgenpost. Retrieved 7 June 2008.

Further reading