The Konzerthausorchester Berlin (called the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester/BSO until July 2006) is one of Berlin’s major symphony orchestras.
|General Director||Sebastian Nordmann|
|des. Chief Conductor as of 2019/20||Christoph Eschenbach|
|Guest Conductor||Juraj Valčuha|
|Honorary Conductor||Iván Fischer|
|Chief Guest Conductor and Honorary Member||Michael Gielen|
|Honorary Conductor and Honorary Member||Kurt Sanderling †|
|Honorary Members||Eliahu Inbal, Ernst-Burghard Hilse|
|Orchestra Board||Uwe Emmrich (Sprecher)|
Matthias Benker, Karoline Bestehorn, David Drost, Christoph Kulicke
|First Concertmaster||Michael Erxleben,|
|Artistic and Orchestra Director||Ulf Werner|
As predecessor of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester (Berlin Symphony Orchestra) was founded in 1925, having emerged from the Blüthner-Orchester. Oskar Fried was its leader until he was forced to emigrate in 1934. In 1952 the orchestra was re-established as a municipal institution in East Berlin and gained international recognition under Kurt Sanderling, principal conductor from 1960 to 1977. Numerous renowned musicians, including violinist David Oistrakh and pianist Emil Gilels, regularly appeared as soloists. The orchestra, which at that time was still named the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester (BSO), like its predecessor from the pre-war era, moved between several different venues in the eastern part of the city. Nevertheless, Kurt Sanderling was able to build up a large core audience for his successful subscription series. Focal points included the music of Gustav Mahler and Dmitri Shostakovich, whose works the BSO often premiered in Germany.
Günter Herbig was appointed principal conductor in 1977. Claus Peter Flor became its head in 1984 and the orchestra finally moved into its own venue, the Schauspielhaus on Gendarmenmarkt. The monumental building by architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel was converted into a concert hall for this purpose. From here, the musicians set out on numerous guest tours around the world. During the term of Danish principal conductor Michael Schønwandt (1992 - 1998), the BSO officially became the Hausorchester am Konzerthaus Berlin. Under his successor Eliahu Inbal, the orchestra completed a successful tour of Japan with 15 concerts in 13 cities as well as guest tours to Spain, China and Korea.
Under principal conductor Lothar Zagrosek, the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester was renamed as the Konzerthausorchester Berlin in 2006, showing how closely it is connected with its home. The principal conductor from 2012 to 2018 was the Hungarian Iván Fischer, who has since been closely associated with the orchestra as honorary conductor. With the 2019/20 season, Christoph Eschenbach will take over the position of principal conductor. Since the 2017/18 season, Juraj Valčuha has been the principal guest conductor.
Kurt Sanderling, who died on 18 September 2011, is an honorary conductor and honorary member of the Konzerthausorchester. Michael Gielen and Eliahu Inbal were also appointed honorary members.
Today, the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, with over 13,000 subscribers, is an ensemble with one of the largest regular audiences in Germany. In more than 100 concerts per season, it thrills audiences in the concert hall on Gendarmenmarkt with works ranging from Monteverdi to Lachenmann. Highly gifted young orchestra musicians are trained at the Kurt Sanderling Academy, which was founded in 2010.
Over the past few years, the Konzerthaus Orchestra has sharpened its profile under a key objective: bringing music to the people. To this end, the musicians are involved in new formats, including the Mozart Matinee with musical childcare, the enthusiastically received “Mittendrin” (Right in the Middle), in which the audience sits next to orchestral musicians in the midst of the concert, and the #klangberlins clips, which have been clicked and shared millions of times in social media channels. For this approach, the Konzerthausorchester Berlin was honoured with the first-ever “Most Innovative Orchestra” award of the Deutsche Orchester-Stiftung in 2017. According to the jury, the award went to “an orchestra (...), which strongly defines itself through its connection to its native city Berlin. The musicians want to be the orchestra for all Berliners and enable diverse approaches to classical music, as well as broad cultural participation.”
- Hermann Hildebrandt (1952–1959)
- Kurt Sanderling (1960–1977)
- Günther Herbig (1977–1983)
- Claus Peter Flor (1984–1991)
- Michael Schønwandt (1992–1998)
- Eliahu Inbal (2001–2006)
- Lothar Zagrosek (2006–2011)
- Iván Fischer (2012–2018)
- from 2019 Christoph Eschenbach
With the hashtag #klangberlins, the Konzerthausorchester set typical Berlin moments to music in 2017 under the motto “You are Berlin. We are the sound.” In a total of 13 short videos, the musicians revealed what their city sounds like on YouTube. The video series has been enthusiastically received around the world and led to wide media coverage. The idea, concept and experimentation of the Konzerthausorchester were honoured with the “German Award for Online Communication”, “ADC Peaks” as the best YouTube video in 2017 and finalist standing in the “Award of Montreux”. #klangberlins also took home the Golden Dolphin in the “Webisodes” category at the “Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards”.
- "Preis „Innovatives Orchester 2017" der Deutschen Orchester-Stiftung geht ans Konzerthausorchester Berlin - Staatsorchester Mainz erhält Sonderpreis - Deutsche Orchester Stiftung". orchesterstiftung.de (in German). Retrieved 2018-09-03.