Performance Wednesday, October 1, 2014 | 7 PM

Carnegie Hall’s
Opening Night Gala
Berliner Philharmoniker

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
The legendary Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, opens Carnegie Hall’s 2014–2015 season in a thrilling concert of Rachmaninoff’s brilliant Symphonic Dances, Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with Anne-Sophie Mutter, and the electrifying closing scenes from Stravinsky’s Firebird.


  • Berliner Philharmoniker
    Sir Simon Rattle, Music Director and Conductor
  • Anne-Sophie Mutter, Violin


  • RACHMANINOFF Symphonic Dances
  • BRUCH Violin Concerto No. 1
  • STRAVINSKY Closing Scenes from The Firebird

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.


  • Berliner Philharmoniker

    Founded in 1882 as a self-governing body, the Berliner Philharmoniker 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 architect Hans Scharoun. 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, introduced a new type of programming, with increased emphasis on contemporary works and expanded chamber recital series, as well as performances of operas in concert.

    When Sir Simon Rattle took the orchestra's helm in September 2002, he initiated the Education Program to ensure that the Berliner Philharmoniker reached a wider, younger audience. In November 2007, the orchestra and Mr. Rattle were appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors, marking the first time an artistic ensemble had represented the international children's organization. The Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation is generously supported by its principal sponsor, Deutsche Bank. In January 2009, the orchestra launched its innovative Digital Concert Hall, which broadcasts the orchestra's concerts live worldwide over the internet. In May 2014, the Berliner Philharmoniker launched its own in-house label, Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings.

    Sir Simon Rattle

    Born in Liverpool in 1955, Sir Simon Rattle has been chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker and artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonie since September 2002. In 1980, following his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, he was appointed principal conductor and artistic adviser of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He became the orchestra's music director in 1990 and remained with the ensemble until 1998. He has been principal guest conductor of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment since 1992, and works with leading orchestras throughout Europe and the US that include the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

    As a concert and opera conductor, Mr. Rattle's repertoire ranges from Baroque to contemporary music. Even before taking up his post as chief conductor, Mr. Rattle had worked regularly with the Berliner Philharmoniker for more than 15 years. His debut with the ensemble took place in 1987 with a performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 6, and he has since made numerous award-winning recordings with the orchestra.

    One of Mr. Rattle's special passions is to bring the work and music of the Berliner Philharmoniker to young people from different social and cultural backgrounds. To this end, he created the Education Program, with which the orchestra has broken new ground in the field of music education. Knighted in 1994 by the Queen of England, Mr. Rattle has won many awards for his commitment to outreach as well as his artistic work. 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. In addition, he was awarded a knighthood in the French Legion of Honour in 2010, and in February 2013, he was earned the Léonie Sonning Music Prize from the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation in Copenhagen.

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  • Anne-Sophie Mutter

    Anne-Sophie Mutter has been recognized as one of the world's greatest violinists for more than 35 years. A four-time Grammy  Award winner, Ms. Mutter has been a champion of contemporary music throughout her career, and her current tally of world premiere performances includes 22 compositions. She has had works composed for her by composers who include Sebastian Currier, Henri Dutilleux, Sofia Gubaidulina, Witold Lutosławski, Norbert Moret, Krzysztof Penderecki, André Previn, and Wolfgang Rihm.

    In the 2014-2015 season, Ms. Mutter curates a six-concert series at Carnegie Hall as a Perspectives artist; makes guest appearances with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Berliner Philharmoniker, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and London Symphony Orchestra; and tours with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Nacional de España, New World Symphony, and Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra. In addition, she embarks on a six-city tour with the Mutter-Bronfman-Harrell Trio to Montreal, New York, Northridge (California), Santa Barbara, Costa Mesa, and Sonoma, and joins her string ensemble, the Mutter Virtuosi, on its first North American tour to Chicago, Toronto, Atlanta, Naples, Kansas City, and Washington, DC.

    Ms. Mutter has long used her public profile to support and promote charitable causes, notably those associated with the alleviation of medical and social problems. Her benefit concerts-which number 62 to date-have raised funds for a host of organizations worldwide. Ms. Mutter's many awards and honors reflect the nature of her humanitarian work as well as the excellence of her artistry. She received the prestigious Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 2008, the Legion of Honour in 2009 for services to contemporary French music, and the 2011 Erich-Fromm-Preis for the advancement of humanism through social engagement. Additional honors include the Merit Cross 1st Class of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Mendelssohn and Brahms prizes, the Herbert von Karajan Music Prize, and the Bavarian Order of Merit. In 2013, Ms. Mutter was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as a Foreign Honorary Member.

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Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances (Lento assai)
Berliner Philharmoniker | Sir Simon Rattle, Conductor

At a Glance

Tonight’s concert features three masterworks in the Romantic tradition: a virtuosic violin concerto from the mid-19th century and two Russian works from the 20th. Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 represents the lyricism, spontaneity, and organic structure we immediately associate with the Romantic sensibility. Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances and the final scenes from Stravinsky’s Firebird demonstrate the unusual, often spectacular things that can happen when a 19th-century aesthetic is thrown into a 20th-century context and powered by a modern orchestra. Completed in 1910, The Firebird is Stravinsky’s resplendent goodbye to the Rimsky-Korsakov tradition of his youth before his plunge into the modernism of Petrushka and The Rite of Spring, though premonitions of both these ballets can be found in the rhythmic and harmonic innovations of The Firebird’s final pages. In the haunting nostalgia of the Symphonic Dances, from 30 years later, Rachmaninoff demonstrates his unbending loyalty to 19th-century Russian sensibility. Indeed, the Symphonic Dances are arguably the last authentic Romantic work in the Russian symphonic tradition.
Program Notes

Gala Details

Gala Lead Chairman
Marina Kellen French


Gala Chairmen
Mercedes T. Bass
Annette and Oscar de la Renta
Bruce and Suzie Kovner
Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis
The Marc Haas Foundation
Ingeborg and Ira Leon Rennert
Beatrice Santo Domingo
Sydney and Stanley S. Shuman
David M. Siegel and Dana Matsushita
Margaret and Ian Smith
S. Donald Sussman
Joan and Sanford I. Weill 


5:30 PM  
Cocktail Reception
Rohatyn Room, Carnegie Hall
7 PM  
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
8:30 PM  
Gala Dinner
Weill Terrace and Terrace Room, Carnegie Hall

Black Tie

The Opening Night of our 2014-2015 season heralds a new chapter in Carnegie Hall's illustrious history. With the upcoming opening of the Resnick Education Wing, a state-of-the-art center for music education and home to the Weill Music Institute, music will now resound in every Carnegie Hall building.

We commence this historic moment by celebrating our Gala Dinner on the Weill Terrace and Terrace Room. To put a brilliant artistic mark on the evening, we welcome the legendary Berliner Philharmoniker - conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and featuring violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter - back to the Carnegie Hall stage for its first Opening Night appearance in over a decade.


Gala Benefit Tickets
Gala benefit tickets include prime concert seating and the option of attending either a pre-concert reception ($1,250 per person) or a post-concert dinner in Carnegie Hall's new Weill Terrace and Terrace Room (starting at $3,000 per person).

Please reserve online via the link on the upper right corner of this page or contact the Special Events office at 212-903-9679. Please note that exact concert and dinner seating assignments will not be determined until the month of the event.

Opening Night Gala benefit tickets directly support Carnegie Hall's artistic and education programs.


For information about Opening Night Gala benefit tickets, which include either a pre-concert reception or post-concert black tie dinner, please call our Special Events Office at 212-903-9679.

Perspectives: Anne-Sophie Mutter
PriceWaterhouseCoopers 60x100 extra header space GIF
Opening Night Gala Lead Sponsor: PwC
The Carnegie Hall presentations of the Berliner Philharmoniker are made possible by a leadership gift from Marina Kellen French and the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation.
This performance is part of Non-Subscription Events, and Perspectives: Anne-Sophie Mutter.

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