The Berlin Philharmonic is an orchestra based in Berlin, Germany and is consistently ranked as one of the best orchestras in the world.
The Berlin Philharmonic was founded in Berlin in 1882 by 54 musicians under the name Frühere Bilsesche Kapelle (literally, "Former Bilse's Band"); the group broke away from their previous conductor Benjamin Bilse after he announced his intention of taking the band on a fourth-class train to Warsaw for a concert. The orchestra was renamed and reorganized under the financial management of Hermann Wolff in 1882. Their new conductor was Ludwig von Brenner; in 1887 Hans von Bülow, one of the most esteemed conductors in the world, took over the post. This helped to establish the orchestra's international reputation, and guests Hans Richter, Felix von Weingartner, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Johannes Brahms and Edvard Grieg conducted the orchestra over the next few years. Programmes of this period show that the orchestra possessed only 46 strings, much less than the Wagnerian ideal of 64.
In 1895, Arthur Nikisch became chief conductor, and was succeeded in 1923 by Wilhelm Furtwängler. Despite several changes in leadership, the orchestra continued to perform throughout World War II. After Furtwängler fled to Switzerland in 1945, Leo Borchard became chief conductor. This arrangement lasted only a few months, as Borchard was accidentally shot and killed by the American forces occupying Berlin. Sergiu Celibidache then took over as chief conductor for seven years, from 1945 to 1952. Furtwängler returned in 1952 and conducted the orchestra until his death in 1954.
His successor was Herbert von Karajan, who led the orchestra from 1955 until his resignation in April 1989, only months before his death. Under him, the orchestra made a vast number of recordings and toured widely, growing and gaining fame.
In 1989, the orchestra elected Claudio Abbado as its next principal conductor. He expanded the orchestra's repertoire beyond the core classical and romantic works into more modern 20th-century works. Abbado stepped down from the chief conductorship of the orchestra in 2002.
In June 1999, the musicians elected Sir Simon Rattle as their next chief conductor.
UNICEF appointed the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Rattle as Goodwill Ambassadors in November 2007. On 10 January 2013, the orchestra announced the scheduled end of Rattle's tenure as artistic director and chief conductor in 2018. On June 22 2015, the orchestra announced its election of Kirill Petrenko as its next chief conductor. At the time of Petrenko's election, a starting date had not been announced for his tenure.
Sir Simon Denis Rattle
Sir Simon Denis Rattle OM CBE (born 19 January 1955) is an English conductor. He rose to international prominence during the 1980s and 1990s, while Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (1980–98). He has been principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic since 2002, and plans to leave his position at the end of his current contract, in 2018. It was announced in March 2015 that Rattle would become Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra from September 2017.
Rattle made his conducting debut with the Berlin Philharmonic (BPO) in 1987, in a performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 6. In 1999, Rattle was appointed as successor to Claudio Abbado as the orchestra's principal conductor.
He gave his first concert as principal conductor of the BPO on 7 September 2002, leading performances of Thomas Adès' Asyla and Mahler's Symphony No. 5, performances which received rave reviews from the press worldwide and were recorded for CD and DVD release by EMI. He has also continued to champion contemporary music in Berlin. The orchestra has established its first education department during Rattle's tenure.
Rattle was originally contracted to lead the BPO through 2012, but in April 2008 the BPO musicians voted to extend his contract as chief conductor for an additional ten years past the next season, to 2018. In January 2013, he announced that he will not extend his contract beyond the 2018 season. UNICEF appointed Rattle and the BPO as Goodwill Ambassadors in November 2007.
Lang lang is a popular Chinese concert pianist who has performed with leading orchestras in Europe, the United States and his native China.
Lang Lang has given recitals and concerts in many major cities and was the first Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic and some top American orchestras. A Chicago Tribune music critic called him "the biggest, most exciting young keyboard talent I have encountered in many a year of attending piano recitals". Lang has been praised by musicians and critics around the world – the conductor Jahja Ling remarked, "Lang Lang is special because of his total mastery of the piano... He has the flair and great communicative power." National Public Radio's Morning Edition remarked that "Lang Lang has conquered the classical world with dazzling technique and charisma." It is often noted that Lang successfully straddles two worlds – classical prodigy and rock-like "superstar", a phenomenon summed up by The Times journalist Emma Pomfret, who wrote, "I can think of no other classical artist who has achieved Lang Lang's broad appeal without dumbing down."
Lang Lang has received many awards and made many television appearances. His DG recording of Beethoven Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 4 with Christoph Eschenbach was nominated for Grammy Award during the year of its release.
He appeared in Time magazine's 2009 list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, and in Gramophone magazine's Hall of Fame in 2012. In 2008, the Recording Academy named him their Cultural Ambassador to China. Lang Lang was appointed by the United Nations' Children's Fund (UNICEF) as an International Goodwill Ambassador in 2004. On October 28, 2013, Lang Lang was chosen by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to be a United Nations Messenger of Peace. His Sony 'Chopin Album' received the 2013 Echo Klassik Award.
Don Juan Richard Strauss
Piano Concerto No.2 Béla Viktor János Bartók
Symphony No.4 Johannes Brahms