The Berliner Philharmoniker was founded in 1882 as a self-governing body and has long been
esteemed one of the world's greatest orchestras.
Hans von Bülow, Arthur Nikisch, and Wilhelm Furtwängler were the principal conductors who
left their distinctive mark during 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 opera-in-concert performances. When Sir Simon
Rattle took the orchestra's helm in September 2002, the education program was initiated to
ensure that the Berliner Philharmoniker reaches a wider and younger audience. In November
2007, the orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle were appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors--the
first artistic ensemble ever to represent the international children's organization.
The Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation is generously supported by its principal sponsor,
Deutsche Bank. This commitment enabled the orchestra to launch its innovative Digital
Concert Hall in January 2009, which broadcasts the orchestra's concerts live around the
world via the internet. In May 2014, the Berliner Philharmoniker launched its own in-house
label, Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings.
During an orchestra assembly on June 21, 2015, Kirill Petrenko was elected by a large
majority of the members of the Berliner Philharmoniker as the chief conductor designate of
Sir Simon Rattle
Sir Simon Rattle has been chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker and artistic
director of the Berlin Philharmonie since September 2002. In the concert hall and opera
house, Mr. Rattle's extensive repertoire covers compositions that range from the Baroque
era to contemporary music. He is also principal guest conductor of the Orchestra of the Age
of Enlightenment and works with leading orchestras on both sides of the Atlantic. Even
before taking his post as principal conductor, Mr. Rattle had already collaborated
regularly with the Berliner Philharmoniker for 15 years. Of the many recordings he has made
with the orchestra, several have received prestigious awards. All of these releases were
recorded live at the Philharmonie.
Born in Liverpool in 1955, Mr. Rattle studied at London's Royal Academy of Music. He was
25 when he began his close association with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
(CBSO), initially as principal conductor and artistic adviser, then--up until the 1998
season--as its music director. His tireless work and visionary artistic projects helped
turn the CBSO into one of the world's top-ranking orchestras.
One of Mr. Rattle's special passions is for bringing the work and music of the Berliner
Philharmoniker to young people of the most diverse social and cultural backgrounds. To that
end, he has established the education program of the Berliner Philharmoniker, which enables
the orchestra to pursue new approaches to promulgating its music.
For this commitment, as well as for his artistic work, Mr. Rattle has won many awards. In
1994, he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II; in 2009, he was awarded the Spanish
Premio Don Juan de Borbón de la Música, the Gloria Artis Gold Medal from the Polish
Ministry of Culture, and the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. The
following year, he was awarded France's Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur. In February 2013,
Mr. Rattle was presented with the Léonie Sonning Music Prize; the following December, he
was appointed Member of the Order of Merit by Queen Elizabeth II.
In January 2013, Mr. Rattle announced that he would not renew his contract as chief
conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker after it expires in 2018. In March 2015, he
announced his appointment as music director of the London Symphony Orchestra, beginning in