Performance Sunday, October 5, 2014 | 8 PM

Berliner Philharmoniker

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Schumann’s “Spring” Symphony bubbles with high spirits, from its opening trumpet call heralding spring’s awakening to its rollicking finale. Schumann’s Second Symphony, conceived when the composer’s mental and physical health was failing, was inspired by Bach’s Musical Offering and Schubert’s “Great” C-Major Symphony. The outer movements are heroic, while the second-movement Scherzo is at once fiendishly virtuosic and deliciously bucolic. The third movement—an impassioned, melancholy Adagio with a sweeping melody—is one of Schumann’s most inspired creations.


  • Berliner Philharmoniker
    Sir Simon Rattle, Music Director and Conductor


  • Symphony No. 1, "Spring"
  • Symphony No. 2

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours with one 20-minute 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.

    More Info


Schumann's Symphony No. 1 "Spring" (Scherzo)
Berliner Philharmoniker | Herbert von Karajan, Conductor
Deutsche Grammophon

At a Glance

The two large-scale works on this evening’s program mark the beginning of a new type of Romantic symphony, one that retains the structural rigor of Haydn and Beethoven while plunging ahead into a new world of fantasy, freedom, and emotional release. Different sides of Schumann’s sensibility are unveiled here. The “Spring” Symphony, tossed off in a few days in a flow of inspiration, is not only a tribute to spring itself, but a joyful expression of Schumann’s love for Clara Wieck, whom he had just married over the vehement objections of her father. His Second Symphony, from five years later, was written in the shadow of the terrible illnesses, both psychological and physical, that were to torment Schumann for the remainder of his life. It is a deeply personal recording of darkness and depression but also of triumphant recovery, the quintessential “Romantic Agony” symphony.
Program Notes
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 International Festival of Orchestras II.