Classical Music in Berlin

PhilharmonieOn the edge of Potsdamer Platz stands the Berlin Philharmonic with its tent-like roof and eccentric 60s interior seating 2200, on nine irregular raked terraces. The building was designed by Hans Scharoun in 1963 and is the home of the world famous orchestra led by Sir Simon Rattle. Previous conductors of the orchestra have included Herbert von Karajan and Claudio Abbado, and it features many other world famous conductors and players as guests. It performs around a hundred times a year in Berlin, August to June, usually in the main hall but sometimes in the smaller Chamber Music Hall alongside.

Over in the east of the city, in the reconstructed Gendarmenmarkt, stands Schinkel's classical Konzerthaus. Home of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, and set in a beautiful square flanked by two domed buildings, the Konzerthaus offers full-scale orchestral performances, as well as Chamber Music in an adjoining hall. Particularly magical are the occasional summer performances given outside in the square.

Organ recitals at churches like the Marienkirche and the Nikolaikirche, or one of Berlin's two cathedrals, St.Hedwig's and the Berliner Dom, are a regular event. And in summer, many of the palaces and stately homes in and around Berlin throw open their doors to audiences who wish to appreciate good classical music in a historical setting - these include Schloss Charlottenburg, Schloß Friedrichsfelde, Jagdschloss Grunewald and Rheinsberg.

A strange and rather sad footnote. Berlin is full of buskers - if you hear them playing classical music, don't be surprised. Many East European classical musicians lost their jobs after the collapse of communism, and some of them earn their living playing on the steets.

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See list of classical music orchestras and venues here.

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