Berlin Philharmonic

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Berlin Philharmonic
The Berlin Philharmonic, main entrance

The Berlin Philharmonic, main entrance

place Berlin
architect Hans Scharoun
Construction year 1960-1963
Floor space 6260 m²
Coordinates 52 ° 30 '36.1 "  N , 13 ° 22' 10.9"  E Coordinates: 52 ° 30 '36.1 "  N , 13 ° 22' 10.9"  E

The Berlin Philharmonie (in short: Philharmonie , since the 2019/20 season in its own presentation Philharmonie Berlin ) in Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße 1 in the Berlin district of Tiergarten, with the concert hall on Gendarmenmarkt, is one of the most important concert halls in Berlin and is the home of the Berliners Philharmonic .

History and previous buildings

The old Philharmonic on Bernburger Strasse

Berlin-Kreuzberg postcard 067 (detail) .jpg
The concert hall of the Philharmonie in Bernburger Strasse (around 1900)
Rudolph Hertzog Agenda 1914 p. 117 (Beethovensaal der Berliner Philharmonie) .jpg
00000000Beethoven Hall, 1913

→ Main article Alte Philharmonie

Kurt Singer conducts a rehearsal for Judas Maccabaeus with the orchestra of the Kulturbund Deutscher Juden in the Berlin Philharmonie, Bernburger Strasse for the performances on May 7th and 8th, 1934

The first concerts of the Berlin Philharmonic, founded in spring 1882, took place in the Charlottenburg garden restaurant "Flora". The orchestra's first permanent home from the summer of 1882 was a former roller skating rink built by Gustav Knoblauch for Ludovico Sacerdotin in 1876 at Bernburger Strasse 22a / 23 in Kreuzberg . In 1888 the building was converted by building officer Franz Heinrich Schwechten into the Philharmonie , a seated concert hall without tables. The rectangular hall, which “was somewhat helped with stucco and gilding”, was praised for its excellent acoustics. Around 1898, additional space was required and the owners of the building, Ludovico Sacerdoti and Sally Landeker, had Ludwig Heim build the skylight hall in the courtyard area behind and  the Beethoven hall (opened January 1899) on an adjacent plot of land ( Köthener Straße 32) to allow for alternative areas to have. During the Second World War , this building complex was destroyed in an Allied air raid on January 30, 1944 .

Interim period

In the post-war years , the Berliner Philharmoniker initially used various alternative quarters: Concerts mostly took place in the Titania Palace , while the Jesus Christ Church in Dahlem was often used for recordings .


The tender for a new building for the Berlin Philharmonic took place in 1956 by the State of Berlin, 14 architects were invited to participate. The original location was initially supposed to be a plot of land on Bundesallee , which bordered the Joachimsthalsche Gymnasium . In January 1957, the design by Hans Scharoun was awarded first prize. At the Philharmonic Competition, Scharoun threatened to repeat a trauma , which happened when the new opera house in Kassel was built : Scharoun had received first prize there, but after initial difficulties with the building site, his plan was not implemented and a different architect was commissioned instead .

After 16 hours of deliberation, the jury awarded the first prize to Scharoun's Philharmonic design, but the decision was made with nine against four votes - and thus the required three-quarters majority was missing. Only after Herbert von Karajan's interventions and Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt (one of the jury members) made an appeal to the world , Scharoun was finally commissioned with the drafting.

A new location

However, the start of construction was to be delayed again: In the public discussion, the targeted location was criticized because it would be too far away from the old Philharmonie. In 1959, the Berlin House of Representatives finally decided to move the new building to its current location.

At this position Albert Speer had planned a huge soldiers' hall as a memorial for the German soldiers who fell in World War I as part of the redesign of Berlin to become the “ World Capital Germania ” . The choice of location was thus also a sign against the gigantomania of National Socialism. The administration building of the National Socialist Action T4 was located directly next to the property . The building was badly damaged by bombs in 1944 and was later demolished. Today a memorial has been erected on the site next to the Philharmonie , the extension of which was inaugurated in September 2014.

The new philharmonic hall was the first building of the cultural forum planned for the post-war period . It was built in a construction period of 37 months ( laying of the foundation stone : September 15, 1960, topping-out ceremony : December 1, 1961, opening: October 15, 1963) based on a design by Hans Scharoun . The construction costs amounted to around 17 million marks (adjusted for purchasing power today around 37 million euros).


The inauguration was originally planned for the spring of 1964, but was brought forward (against the concerns of the construction staff) in order to enable the regular season to begin in autumn. The speech at the opening of the new Philharmonie was given by architecture critic Adolf Arndt . The opening concert ( Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 ) marked the end of the 1963 Berliner Festwochen .



The redesigned back entrance at the transition between the Philharmonie and the Chamber Music Hall 2013

Today the building, together with the Chamber Music Hall, the Berlin Musical Instrument Museum and other buildings, belongs to the Kulturforum Berlin not far from Potsdamer Platz , and is located in the immediate vicinity of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's New National Gallery and Potsdamer Platz, which was also designed by Scharoun built house Potsdamer Strasse of the Berlin State Library .

The original structural situation at Potsdamer Platz is due to the fact that the building is now perceptible as "upside down" (with the main entrance facing the Tiergarten and the back facing Potsdamer Platz). At the time of construction, the area was a wasteland directly on the sector boundary at Potsdamer Platz, which was also fallow, where the Berlin Wall was built during the construction of the Philharmonie . It was not until the reunified Berlin that Potsdamer Platz was given back its present-day development and thus its original importance for transport. However, both buildings can also be entered from the parking lot side via the connecting passage between the Philharmonie and the Chamber Music Hall; a more prominent design of this “back entrance” in 2009 (installation of new lettering, redesign of the foyer area, etc.) has now taken its new role into account.

Philharmonic seen from the south

Exterior design

Philharmonic and chamber music hall from above
Wooden model of the Philharmonie (left) and Chamber Music Hall (right)
Chamber music hall of the Philharmonie
In the chamber music hall of the Philharmonie

Because of its peculiar, circus-like design with the concert podium in the middle, the Philharmonie was jokingly called "Circus Karajani" shortly after completion, in reference to Herbert von Karajan, the chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic at the time (see Sarrasani circus ). The name should come from the Berlin vernacular . Another nickname is “concert box”, as the golden-yellow cladding and shape of the two halls are reminiscent of chocolate boxes.

Between 1984 and 1987, the chamber music hall was built next to the Philharmonie on the basis of Hans Scharoun's original plans based on plans by Edgar Wisniewski . Both buildings are connected to each other.

Thanks to the addition of the second building and the aforementioned orientation of the Philharmonie towards the Tiergarten, many details of the building's character are no longer immediately recognizable when you approach the complex as a visitor. Many of these details can be identified even more easily on aerial photos from the time of the opening. This includes the borrowings from nautical design elements in the form of "portholes", which are famous for Scharoun, as well as the division of the architecture into a horizontal base, which was kept in white and which houses the foyer and the administrative wing, and the golden (at that time beige) sound body of the concert hall. A terrace-like gallery runs around the outside of the building on the north and west sides, which can be opened to the public during breaks and from which the garden can also be reached. Due to the body of the foyer, the building on the side of the main entrance has a terraced staggering similar to that of the State Library opposite. The large areas of the skylights above the checkout area and the foyer, which contribute to the light and open spatial impression on the inside, are also striking.

The "golden" facade cladding

Detail of the facade of the chamber music hall of the Berlin Philharmonic

When it opened, the Philharmonic did not yet have the “golden outer skin” that it disguises the facade today. Although Scharoun had planned a facade cladding, this was initially not implemented for cost reasons and the concrete facade was instead only given a temporary ocher paint. The color ocher was chosen as a reference to the traditional hue of Brandenburg castles and mansions.

After only a few years later moisture damage had occurred to the cladding of the Philharmonie, the issue of the cladding was taken up again. It was not until 1979–1981, after the state library opposite had been completed, that the Berlin Senate had the gold anodized aluminum plates attached later - (almost) the same as those that adorn the high-level magazine of the State Library (see below).

However, the gold-colored panels were not without a doubt the cladding originally intended by Scharoun: Scharoun had planned square “color panels” with a three-dimensional pattern. The white panels attached to the south side of the chimney correspond to the originally planned cladding, as can also be seen on late building drawings, but the prototypes were also equipped with pink and gray surfaces in the later construction phase.

At the same time, when renovating the façade of the Philharmonie, a detail was implemented that was omitted for reasons of cost in the golden cladding of the high-level magazine of the State Library opposite: the individual gold anodized aluminum panels were provided with translucent polyester covers. At the State Library, Scharoun hoped that this would create a subtle light effect in connection with the underlying pyramid structure of the aluminum panels. Today you can see that this idea only works moderately in practice: Compared with the chamber music hall built in 1984, the outer skin of the Philharmonie looks dull and dirty - only at second glance you can see that this is not due to the age of the records (anyway the difference is only about three years): The chamber music hall has no translucent covers on the gold plates.

On the west side of the Philharmonie around the emergency staircase you can see all three types of exterior cladding: on the chimney already mentioned, the white plastic panels, which roughly correspond to the original plan; on the left the aluminum plates covered with polyester plates and on the right (on the staircase itself) the gold anodized plates without cover.

Interior design

Concert hall

The Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (with the radio choir behind it) in the Philharmonie.

The audience sit on all sides of the concert podium, blocks H (behind the choir) and E (left in the picture behind the orchestra) can be seen in the picture. Also recognizable are the acoustic reflectors hanging above the stage in the form of tetraploids ( see below ) and the inconspicuous image and sound technology, which has also been used for the live stream playback of the concerts by the Digital Concert Hall since 2008 .

The Philharmonic Hall offers 2250 seats (for comparison: the chamber music hall, which was built later, seats 1180 spectators).

The structure of the hall is asymmetrical and tent-like and its floor plan is based on the principle of three interlocking pentagons , which still function as the logo of the Berlin Philharmonic to this day. However, the asymmetry is only very subtly implemented in the floor plan of the hall and is achieved specifically through details in the hall: Among other things, a block of the audience area is missing in the left area in which two studios are housed, on the opposite side is the organ ( see below ) and behind it an empty control room, which can be equipped with studio equipment for external productions.

The seats offer a good view of the almost centrally placed stage from all sides thanks to the irregularly rising box terraces. This special arrangement largely eliminates the separation between artist and audience; from the appropriate places the audience can z. B. look the conductor in the face during the performance, which gives the less advantageous places in terms of their acoustic balance, for example directly behind the percussion (block H), their own qualities. Many artists appreciate being “in the midst” of the audience when performing in the Philharmonie; This in turn can be observed by the actors from all sides, depending on their seat. However, there have also been conductors and musicians who did not want to be the center of attention and canceled their performance here (e.g. Hans Knappertsbusch ) or demonstrated passionate rejection in public comments ( Otto Klemperer or Paul Hindemith ).

Scharoun himself described the arrangement of the visitor blocks as "ascending vineyards". The staggering of the terraces breaks up the otherwise usual coherent structure of the audience: the blocks each group around 75–100 places and are thus at the same time “intimate” on the social dimension, yet still acoustically and physically coherent. The incline and arrangement are designed in such a way that the spectators obstruct each other as little as possible in the field of vision of the stage.

The break with the traditional concert hall division through the central positioning of the orchestra has always been interpreted by critics as a redefinition of the social construct of the concert performance. For example, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Philharmonie , the Berliner Zeitung wrote : “On the contrary, the more open space in the Philharmonie allows any kind of music to unfold, while it becomes part of a civil ritual in the concert hall, which the plaster heads of Bach until Prokofiev appears to be monitored? "

Both the stage position and the characteristic terrace structure later served as a model for numerous new concert halls ( see below ). A similar terrace architecture for the visitor seats already existed in the Mozart Hall of the Stuttgart Liederhalle, which opened in 1956 .


Contrary to the traditional layout, the foyer is to the right of the concert hall (the main entrance is, so to speak, positioned "on the corner" of the building). Due to the terraced staggering of the auditorium in the concert hall, the foyer is dominated by staircases that form a “labyrinthine branch”. Due to these two circumstances, the intuitive orientation is confused and visitors sometimes find it difficult to find the correct access to their seats (of which there are a total of 27). The four inclined support pillars in the back of the foyer around which the bar is built today can be used as a guide for orientation: These support block C of the audience tiers above and precisely mark the central axis between the left and right side of the hall. In the window front directly in front of it are the glass block elements by Alexander Camaro ( see below ), which with their A-shape also show exactly the center of the rear of the building.

The specific design of interior architectural details such as the banisters, the floor and the windows (see also the section on ' Art in Architecture ') was also used by Scharoun around ten years later in the Berlin State Library opposite, which is why it is not only due to the striking gold-colored facade cladding , but also reveals a direct relationship in the interior design of the two buildings.

architectural art

The "Philharmonieleampe I" by Günter Ssymmank (here in the staircase of the State Library)
  • The floor in the foyer was designed by Erich Fritz Reuter (1911–1997).
  • The colored glass windows on the northwest side were designed by Alexander Camaro (1901–1992).
  • The famous “Philharmonic Lamp I” in the foyer was designed by Günter Ssymmank (1919–2009).
  • The garden design was taken over by Hermann Mattern (1902–1971).

All four named artists also contributed to the design of the Berlin State Library opposite , which was designed by Scharoun a few years later.

  • The sculpture on the top of the roof ("Phoenix"), which, like the concert hall itself, faces the Reichstag building , was made by the sculptor Hans Uhlmann .
  • Bernhard Heiliger (1915–1995) designed the sculpture in the foyer. Heiliger was also later to produce two more works for the State Library.
  • The furniture in the foyer and in the rooms behind the stage was designed by Piter G. Zech .
  • There is a small green area between the Philharmonie and Tiergartenstrasse , where a sculpture of Orpheus was set up in 1959 . It comes from Gerhard Marcks' workshop .
  • Directly above the main entrance there is a simple lettering made of stainless steel with the symbol of the building above, a pentagon nested multiple times. The font and symbol were renewed in 2010 by Fittkau Metallbau und Kunstschmiede .


By positioning the orchestra in the middle of the audience, which was unique at the time, the Philharmonie presented completely new challenges to the acoustic design. The sometimes rumored impression that the hall originally had poor acoustics, which then had to be gradually raised to an acceptable level, is not correct.

The fact that the originally planned, more complex podium was dispensed with during construction for cost reasons, which initially led to isolated problems with the audibility of individual groups of instruments, may have contributed to this narrative. The final improvement took place - after various interim solutions - only over a decade after the opening ( see below ). The high publicity of the newly opened building also gave the sometimes sharp and exaggerated criticism a prominent position in the debate. The artistic director Wolfgang Stresemann later described the Philharmonic's initial acoustics as "very, very bad - terribly bad".

In contrast, the hall was acoustically extremely well thought out from the start - in the spirit of Hans Scharoun, who planned his architecture “from the inside out”. So is the unconventional exterior of the floor plan and roof shape u. a. Result of acoustic considerations.

During the planning phase, Scharoun worked closely with Lothar Cremer from the Technical University of Berlin , who, as a consultant, ensured that the concept of the podium position in the middle of the audience was also optimally implemented acoustically in the design of his competition entry. Before and during the construction period, 1: 9 scale models were also used: electric sparks were used to generate bang pulses in order to record echograms. (The aim of the research was not the setting of the reverberation time , but the detection and correction of flutter echoes .)

When it comes to room acoustics, a distinction can be made between three aspects:

  • "Sound" of the room: time and character of the reverberation, room resonances, flutter echoes etc.
  • Balance of the sound for the concert-goers: distribution of the sound in the room, audibility of the instruments
  • Balance of sound on the podium / stage: audibility for the musicians among themselves

"Sound" of the room

For the reverberation time in concert halls for symphony orchestras, a value of approx. Two seconds in the middle frequencies (when the house is fully occupied) is considered optimal, shorter times are perceived as "dull" (living room atmosphere), longer times quickly wash out the sound (which is why For example, a symphony orchestra in a large church is no longer perceived as pleasant). This value is also achieved in the Philharmonie.

Contrary to what laypeople sometimes assume, setting the reverberation time in a new building is not a major acoustic challenge, because it can largely be easily calculated using the required room volume (10 m³ per person in the case of the Philharmonie) and influenced by the design of the surface materials.

In order to keep the acoustic difference between the rehearsal situation (without an audience) and the concert situation (with occupied seats) as small as possible, the undersides of the seats, for example, were provided with sound-absorbing cushions. The reverberation time in the unoccupied hall is similar to that with occupied chairs.

With its asymmetrical floor plan and the lack of parallel surfaces, the hall offers ideal conditions to avoid classic problems such as flutter echoes and standing waves ( room resonances ). The ceiling of the hall is equipped with 136 prism-shaped Helmholtz resonators that are filled with sound-absorbing material and can also be tuned by regulating the slit opening. Due to their shape, they also function as diffusers and thus also ensure that the so-called " early reflections " are dispersed, the reflections that can be directly heard and located. Through these measures, the Philharmonie achieves its specific character of reverberation, which is characterized by a low proportion of early reflections and a higher proportion of diffuse reverberation - and thus the opposite of traditional right-angled halls such as B. at the concert hall on Gendarmenmarkt .

Balance of the sound for the concert-goers

The above The character of the spatial sound also leads to the excellent localization of the primary sound sources (i.e. the individual instruments) and the sharpness of the tone colors. The even distribution of the sound in the room is largely due to the multi-convex ceiling. This goes back to an idea by Lothar Cremer: Scharoun initially planned a dome-like construction.

A major point of criticism was initially precisely this aspect of the balance of the orchestral sound, especially the strings were often not loud enough. The reason for this was quickly identified as the too low position of the podium in the hall. "Scharoun's bottom was obviously too deep," commented the director at the time, Wolfgang Stresemann, referring to a description of the hall by Scharoun.

Ironically, a higher pedestal was originally planned, but not implemented for cost reasons. The improvement of the podium height should extend over more than a decade:

  • In the summer of 1964, the entire podium was first raised, which brought substantial improvements, but still did not lead to Karajans' full satisfaction.
  • In 1973, for aesthetic reasons, a semicircular stepped platform was installed as part of television recordings, which raised the rear parts of the orchestra. Although this was only intended as a temporary measure, Karajan used it permanently in his performances from then on, because he was convinced of the tonal effect, the better audibility of the individual musicians. The use involved a not inconsiderable effort, because the construction had to be removed again for other concerts, which meant the use of skilled workers. For safety reasons, the use of the platform had to be stopped after a year.
  • In the summer of 1975 the podium in its present form was finally installed, based on a design by Edgar Wisniewski . The semicircular step shape is fully and partially adjustable by machine and can thus be adapted to different concert situations.

However, there is one physical circumstance that cannot be changed by structural acoustics: Naturally, the subjective sound image in the seats near the stage to the side of and behind the orchestra is more unbalanced. At first, particularly close groups of instruments are perceived more emphatically than from a further distance or in the classic blocks (A – C) because the relative amplitude differences are simply greater here. Another problem arises in these places due to the directionality of the instruments. B. is strongly noticeable with brass players, and is greatest with soloist singing. “The solo singer's concert will therefore always remain a daring experiment in the Philharmonie,” said the responsible acoustician Lothar Cremer, while in his opinion choirs did not cause such difficulties.

Audibility of the musicians among each other

Contrary to the assumption of many visitors, the convex sound elements hanging above the stage were not primarily installed for the audience, but for the musicians: With the ceiling height of 22 meters above the podium, these GRP- made reflectors shorten the sound path of the early reflections, so that audibility the instrumentalists among themselves is guaranteed. However, in the audience areas close to the stage, and especially in the middle parquet, the reflectors also provide for acoustically pleasant inter-reflections. The elements, often referred to as “clouds”, are easily adjustable in height and inclination. Scharoun originally planned a single large reflector, but this was then divided into ten individual ones. At Scharoun's request, their size was reduced compared to Cremer's design for aesthetic reasons. At the opening, these smaller reflectors hung from the ceiling of the hall. Already during the first break in the game, however, they were exchanged for the larger reflectors, as they can still be seen today.

Livestream technology

The building fits into the architectural and musical tradition of “technical avant-gardism ”, as embodied by the architecture itself and by the orchestra conductors (especially Herbert von Karajan ). In particular, it fits in with the fact that the Philharmonic’s internal sound and broadcast technology has made it possible for several years now to broadcast entire concerts in high image and sound quality as a video live stream and as archive material in a natural way on the Internet. The Berlin Philharmonic is so far the only concert hall in which such an official facility exists (since November 2008 under the aegis of Simon Rattle ).


The Philharmonie has a two-part organ system .

Main organ

The main organ

The Berlin company Karl Schuke built a four-manual organ in 1965 , which was reworked in 1992 as part of the major hall renovation. In 2011 a new electric game table with a setting system, a new coupling system , new swell motors and an additional wind machine were installed . In 2012, six registers were added, including two horizontally. At the same time, some registers were re-intonated, the swell walls were doubled and the walls were partially cleaned. In 2018 three reed registers were renewed and an acoustic flute bass 32 ′ was added to the pedal , and in 2019 the acoustic register Gravissima 64 ′ was added to the pedal .

The instrument now has 77 stops, with the tuba 16 ′ and tuba 8 ′ added in 2012 not being assigned to any particular work. They can be played from all manuals and from the pedal.

I main work C – a 3
01. Principal 16 ′
02. octave 08th'
03. Double flute 08th' (2012)
04th Reed flute 08th'
05. octave 04 ′
06th Flute 04 ′
07th Nassat 02 23
08th. octave 02 ′
09. Mixture major VI – VIII 02 ′
10. Mixture minor IV 023
11. Bombard 16 ′ (2018)
12. Trumpet 08th' (2018)
13. Trumpet 04 ′
II Positive C – a 3
14th Quintadena 16 ′
15th Principal 08th'
16. Capstan whistle 08th'
17th Dumped 08th'
18th octave 04 ′
19th recorder 04 ′
20th Forest flute 02 ′
21st Sesquialtera II 02 23
22nd Nassat 01 13
23. Mixture IV-VI 01 13
24. Cymbel III 01 13
25th Cor anglais 16 ′
26th Cromorne 08th'
III Récit (swellable) C – a 3
27. Drone 16 ′
28. Wooden flute 08th'
29 Viol 08th' (2012)
30th Dumped 08th'
31. Voix céleste 08th' (2012)
32. Principal 04 ′
33. Flûte douce 04 ′
34. Fifth flute 02 23
35. Night horn 02 ′
36. third 01 35
37. Flageolet 01'
38. Forniture V 02 23
39. Scharffcymbel III 012
40. Trumpet 16 ′
41. Trumpet harmonique 08th'
42. oboe 08th'
43. Clairon 04 ′
IV Upper structure (swellable) C – a 3
44. Salicional 000 08th' (2012)
45. Wooden dacked 08th'
46. Gemshorn 08th'
47. Principal 04 ′
48. Reed flute 04 ′
49. octave 02 ′
50. Gemshorn 02 ′
51. third 01 35
52. Fifth 01 13
53. Seventh 01 17
54. Sif flute 01'
55. None 089
56. Scharff IV – V 01'
57. Dulcian 16 ′
58. Voix humaine 08th'
Auxiliary C – a 3
59. Tuba en chamade 16 ′
60. Tuba en chamade 08th'
Pedal C – g 1
61. Gravissima 64 ' (2019)
62. Principal 32 ′
63. Flute bass 32 ' (2018)
64. Principal 16 ′
65. Flute bass 16 ′
66. Sub bass 16 ′
67. Subtle bass 16 ′
(Continued pedal)
68. octave 08th'
69. Dumped 08th'
70. octave 04 ′
71. Pipe pommer 04 ′
72. Peasant flute 02 ′
73. Backset VI 02 23
(Continued pedal)
74. trombone 32 ′ (2018)
75. trombone 16 ′
76. bassoon 16 ′
77. Trumpet 08th'
78. shawm 04 ′
  • Remarks:
  1. a b acoustic register.

The Tuba 16 ′ and Tuba 8 ′ registers added in 2016 can be played by all four manuals and by the pedal ; the organ building company uses the term "floating work" for this in the tradition of organ building in English-speaking countries.

Choir organ

The choir organ was also built in 1965 by the Berlin organ building company Schuke and redesigned in 2016, four stops were replaced and two drone stops 16 'and 8' in the main work were added as a transmission from the sub-bass 16 'of the pedal work. Choir and main organ can be played together from the electric console.

Choir organ left (swellable) C – a 3
1. Bourdon 16 '
2. Principal 08th'
3. Bourdon 08th'
4th Gemshorn 08th'
5. octave 04 ′
6th Funnel flute 02 ′
7th Basson Hautbois 08th' (n)
Choir organ right (swellable) C – a 3
08th. Flûte harmonique000 08th' (n)
09. Salicional 08th'
10. Principal flute 04 ′
11. Sesquialtera II 02 23 (n)
12. Forest flute 02 ′
13. Clarinet 08th' (n)
Pedal C – g 1
14th Sub bass 00 16 ′
  • annotation
(n) = register added subsequently (2016)

The Berlin Philharmonic as a model for other concert halls

The Philharmonie was the first concert hall where the podium was positioned in the middle of the audience. This concept was subsequently adopted by numerous other plans. B .:

The layout has now established itself as a standard for concert halls. Some of the more prominent new buildings in the 21st century include:

The roof of the Elbphilharmonie also has a shape that is curved - similar to the roof of the Berlin Philharmonic.


  • Stradivarius made of concrete. The Berlin Philharmonic. Documentary, 2003, 30 min., Script and direction: Andreas Knaesche and Gisela Lerch, production: rbb , first broadcast: October 15, 2003 by rbb.
  • The Berlin Philharmonic. A pentagon with an aura. Documentary, Germany, 2013, 43:40 min., Script and director: Alexander Lück, production: finkernagel & lück, rbb, first broadcast: October 15, 2013 by rbb, summary by rbb.
  • Cathedrals of Culture , 2014, inspiring documentary in which six directors portray six unique buildings.


The collapse of the hall ceiling

On June 28, 1988, before a dress rehearsal began, a 1 m² piece of plaster came off the ceiling in the concert hall. Nobody was injured. After this incident, a net was first installed under the ceiling to protect the audience and musicians. At the beginning of 1991 the Philharmonie was closed for over a year and the ceiling was completely renovated. The construction previously designed as a free-swinging Rabitz ceiling was replaced by a concrete ceiling. In April 1992 the renovated hall was reopened under Claudio Abbado.

Fire in May 2008

On May 20, 2008, a fire broke out due to welding work under the metal roof in the area of ​​the Great Hall. At this point in time the usual Tuesday lunch concert was taking place in the foyer , the visitors of which witnessed the smoke development and which was therefore canceled. The fire brigade was very quickly at the scene of the fire and prevented major damage. After repairs, concerts could take place again from June 2nd, 2008. The management of the Philharmonic later held a concert of thanks for the fire fighters.

See also

10 + 5 Pfennig - stamp of the Bundespost Berlin (1950) for the reconstruction of the Berlin Philharmonic
20 Pfennig special stamp of the Bundespost Berlin (1965) , Berlin Philharmonic


Web links

Commons : Berliner Philharmonie  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

References and comments

  1. ^ History of the Berliner Philharmoniker: The early days
  2. Memorial plaques in Berlin: Philharmonie
  3. Stadtklause: permanent exhibition on the Anhalter Bahnhof and the old philharmonic hall in the vaulted cellar
  4. ^ The concert hall of the Philharmonie in Bernburger Strasse in Berlin . In: Zeitschrift für Bauwesen , Vol. 40 (1890), Sp. 13–16, Plate 7 ( urn : nbn: de: kobv: 109-opus-89629 ; digitized in the holdings of the Central and State Library Berlin ).
  5. ^ Adolf Arndt: On the opening of the new Philharmonie (=  notes on the time. Issue 9). Gebr. Mann, 1964, p. 10 ( limited preview in Google book search).
  6. Helmut Börsch-Supan: The Chronicle of Berlin. 2nd Edition. Chronik-Verlag, Dortmund 1991, ISBN 3-88379-082-6 , p. 519 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  7. ^ Peer Zietz, Uwe H. Rüdenburg: Franz Heinrich Schwechten: An architect between historicism and modernity . Edition Axel Menges 1999, ISBN 3-930698-72-2 , p. 50 ( limited preview in the Google book search)
  8. CARTHALIA - Theaters on Postcards. [1] .
  9. ^ Wolfgang Stresemann: Philharmonic and Philharmonic. Stapp-Verlag, Berlin 1977, p. 11
  10. Liselotte and Armin Orgel-Köhne: Berlin Philharmonie. Lettner-Verlag, Berlin 1964, no p.
  11. ^ Wolfgang Stresemann: Philharmonic and Philharmonic. Stapp-Verlag, Berlin 1977, p. 29
  12. Music with walls . In: Der Spiegel . No. 42 , 1963, pp. 104-108 ( online ).
  13. Karajani Circus in Berlin . In: Die Zeit , No. 20/1963.
  14. ^ Annemarie Kleinert: Berliner Philharmoniker. From Karajan to Rattle. Jaron Verlag, 2005, ISBN 3-89773-131-2 ( ).
  15. Berlin Philharmonic Foundation (ed.): 50 Years of the Berlin Philharmonic: A Journey Through Time. Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation, Berlin 2013, p. 163.
  16. Berlin Philharmonic Foundation (ed.): 50 Years of the Berlin Philharmonic: A Journey Through Time. Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation, Berlin 2013, p. 134.
  17. ^ Wilfried Wang, Daniel E. Sylvester (eds.): O'Neil Ford Monograph 5: Philharmonie - Hans Scharoun. Wasmuth , Tübingen 2013, p. 99.
  18. Berlin Philharmonic Foundation (ed.): 50 Years of the Berlin Philharmonic: A Journey Through Time. Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation, Berlin 2013, p. 135.
  19. ^ Edgar Wisniewski: Hans Scharoun's last work for Berlin. In: Liselotte Orgel-Köhne: Berlin State Library. arani-Verlag, Berlin 1980, ISBN 3-7605-8546-9 , p. 21.
  20. ^ Rainer Esche: Sounding room . Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  21. Berlin Philharmonic Foundation (ed.): 50 Years of the Berlin Philharmonic: A Journey Through Time. Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation, Berlin 2013, p. 89
  22. a b "The hall is designed like a valley on the bottom of which the orchestra is, surrounded by rising vineyards", Hans Scharoun in the program booklet for the opening in 1963, quoted in: Jürgen Tietz: Philharmonie Kulturforum Berlin . 2nd edition, Stadtwandel Verlag, Berlin 2007, p. 18
  23. The conductor is in the middle, the music sounds everywhere. In: Berliner Zeitung , October 14, 2013
  24. Liselotte and Armin Orgel-Köhne: Berlin Philharmonie . Lettner-Verlag, Berlin 1964, no p.
  25. visited in 2014; Explanation board on the base.
  26. a b Berlin Philharmonic Foundation (ed.): 50 Years of the Berlin Philharmonic: A Journey through Time. Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation, Berlin 2013, p. 104.
  27. ^ Wilfried Wang, Daniel E. Sylvester (eds.): O'Neil Ford Monograph 5: Philharmonie - Hans Scharoun. Wasmuth, Tübingen 2013, p. 180.
  28. a b c d e f g Lothar Cremer: The acoustic conditions in the new Berlin Philharmonic. In: Deutsche Bauzeitung , Vol. 70, No. 10, 1965, pp. 850–862.
  29. a b c Leo Baranek: Concert Hall Acoustics. In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. Volume 92, No. 1, July 1992, pp. 1-39.
  30. Berlin Philharmonic Foundation (ed.): 50 Years of the Berlin Philharmonic: A Journey Through Time. Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation, Berlin 2013, p. 95.
  31. ^ Wilfried Wang, Daniel E. Sylvester (eds.): O'Neil Ford Monograph 5: Philharmonie - Hans Scharoun. Wasmuth, Tübingen 2013, p. 182.
  32. ^ Wolfgang Stresemann: Philharmonic and Philharmonic. Stapp-Verlag, Berlin 1977, p. 34.
  33. Berlin Philharmonic Foundation (ed.): 50 Years of the Berlin Philharmonic: A Journey Through Time. Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation, Berlin 2013, p. 96.
  34. On the dispositions of the organs
  35. Elbphilharmonie: The plaza is open. In: Retrieved January 9, 2017 .
  36. ^ Wilfried Wang, Daniel E. Sylvester (eds.): O'Neil Ford Monograph 5: Philharmonie - Hans Scharoun. Wasmuth, Tübingen 2013, p. 106.
  37. Fire in the Berlin Philharmonic. (Not available online.) In: . May 20, 2008, archived from the original on May 26, 2008 ; Retrieved May 20, 2008 .
  38. ^ Homepage of the Berliner Philharmoniker. 2008, accessed May 23, 2008 .
  39. 30 Things You Should Know About The Philharmonic. In: Berliner Morgenpost . 15 October 2013.