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Biography
The Berlin Philharmonic is a German orchestra founded in 1882 with its principal concert venue in the city of Berlin. It actually began as Benjamin Bilse’s Band in 1862, but due to unfavorable working conditions, the musicians revolted and formed their own self-governing orchestra in the Spring of 1882. After five years of financial hardships, Hermann Wolff, a concert agent, took over the affairs of the orchestra, established a more solid foundation for the organization, and renamed it. Hans Von Bulow was hired by Wolff to serve as permanent conductor, though many guest conductors worked with the orchestra as well (Hermann Levi, Hans Richter, Brahms, Grieg, Mahler, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, and others.) Von Bulow also supervised the renovation of the orchestra’s main concert venue, a converted roller skating rink. Arthur Nikisch took over after Von Bulow’s resignation (1895.) Nikisch stayed for 27 years. In 1923, Wilhelm Furtwangler followed Nikisch. The Berlin Philharmonic performed continuously during World War Two and barely missed two months without playing at the very end of the war before regrouping to perform again in May of 1945. Since Furtwangler had gotten himself in some political trouble during the war, a new conductor was hired – Leo Borchard. However, Borchard died suddenly (shot by a soldier), and Sergiu Celibidache was hired to take his place. In 1947, Furtwangler was rehired and shared conducting duties with Celibidache until 1951. After his death in 1954, Herbert Von Karajan took over, staying for a record 35 years. Karajan resigned in April of 1989 and died three months later. Claudio Abbado was voted in on October 8, 1989 and took over at the beginning of the 1990-1991 season. He remained until the end of the 2001-2002 season. Since Abbado had announced his intention to step down in 1998, Simon Rattle was voted in on June 23, 1999. Rattle began his new post at the beginning of the 2002-2003 season and he is still there. The orchestra’s concerts take place (since 1963) at the famous Philharmonic Hall (Philharmonie), which seats about 2000. The orchestra plays about 100 concerts per year and has about 128 members. It has recently established what it calls a virtual concert hall (on the internet) which sells subscriptions to many of their concerts. Of course, one can see and hear them on YouTube. They have also recorded (almost) the entire orchestral repertoire several times over.
This biography was most recently edited by...
steven - 25 Mar 2011
violinhunter - 16 Jun 2009
violinhunter - 16 Jun 2009
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