The Berliner Philharmoniker, founded in 1882 as a self-governing body, has long been esteemed as one of the world’s greatest orchestras. In 2007, it celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding with a multitude of activities. The 2013/2014 season was dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Philharmonie, which was designed for the orchestra by the architect Hans Scharoun.
Hans von Bülow, Arthur Nikisch and Wilhelm Furtwängler were the principal conductors who left their distinctive mark in the Berliner Philharmoniker’s early decades. In 1955 Herbert von Karajan became the orchestra’s artistic director and, in the ensuing years, worked with the musicians to develop a unique tonal quality and performing style that made the Berliner Philharmoniker famous all over the world. Claudio Abbado, chief conductor from 1989 to 2002, devised a new type of programming, with increased emphasis on contemporary works, expanded chamber recital series and operas in concert performance. When Sir Simon Rattle took the orchestra’s helm in September 2002, the Education Programme was initiated to ensure that the Berliner Philharmoniker reaches a wider and, especially, younger audience. In November 2007, the orchestra and its artistic director Sir Simon Rattle were appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors, the first artistic ensemble ever to represent the international children’s organisation.
The Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation is generously supported by its principal sponsor, Deutsche Bank. This commitment enabled the orchestra in January 2009 to launch its innovative Digital Concert Hall, which broadcasts the orchestra’s concerts live worldwide over the Internet. In May 2014 the Berliner Philharmoniker launched their own in-house label: Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings.
Askonas Holt's relationship with the legendary Berliner Philharmoniker has spanned decades. We have managed many concert tours for the orchestra in Europe and Asia, including numerous visits to London, under the batons of Sir Simon Rattle, Bernard Haitink, Claudio Abbado, Herbert von Karajan and others.