Entrance to the concert hall
|Location||Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany|
|Address||Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße 1, 10785 Berlin|
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.
Hans Scharoun designed the building, 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. 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).
Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck and his quartet recorded three live performances at the hall; Dave Brubeck in Berlin (1964), Live at the Berlin Philharmonie (1970), and We're All Together Again for the First Time (1973). Miles Davis's 1969 live performance at the hall has also been released on DVD.
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. The hall interior sustained water damage but was otherwise "generally unharmed". Firefighters limited damage using foam. 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. Performances resumed, as scheduled, on 1 June 2008 with a concert by the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.
The main organ was built by Karl Schuke, 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.
- Osborne, Richard (1998). Herbert von Karajan: A Life in Music. Chatto & Windus. pp. 475f. ISBN 1-55553-425-2.
- Aster, Misha (2010). The Reich's Orchestra: The Berlin Philharmonic 1933–1945. Souvenir Press. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-285-63893-8.
- Kate Connolly (21 May 2008). "Musicians flee Philharmonic fire in Berlin". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- Design Build Network. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
- Dave Brubeck in Berlin at AllMusic
- Live at the Berlin Philharmonie at AllMusic
- We're All Together Again for the First Time at AllMusic
- Miles Davis website album entry Archived February 6, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, accessed April 12, 2015
- Nicholas Kulish and Daniel J. Wakin (21 May 2008). "Fire Under Control at Home of Berlin Philharmonic". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- Daniel J. Wakin (22 May 2008). "Hall Interior in Berlin Intact After Fire". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- Stephen McElroy (27 May 2008). "Cause of Fire at Berlin Philharmonic Is Found". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
- Felix Stephan (3 June 2008). "Philharmonie wieder geöffnet: Das Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin nahm den Konzertbetrieb wieder auf". Berliner Morgenpost. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Berliner Philharmonie, main building.|
- Kulturforum on Potsdamer Platz
- Berliner Philharmonie: 360° panorama (external round-tour)
- Virtual-tour through the concert hall (internal round-tour), with "stop" and "information" features