Concert archive
Claudio Abbado in der Digital Concert Hall
Claudio Abbado
Chief conductor 1990–2002

When Claudio Abbado talked about music, the words “ascoltare” and “insieme” were often used. In fact, mutual “listening” and working “together” on a piece was fundamental to his approach to music. The Berliner Philharmoniker discovered this when Abbado became their chief conductor in 1989. Compared to his rather distant predecessor, Herbert von Karajan, Abbado placed more emphasis on interpretations developed from an exchange between colleagues. The result was often a chamber music-like transparency that enhances the style of the Berliner Philharmoniker to this day.

There were also important programmatic choices. Under Claudio Abbado, Gustav Mahler became a focus of the Berliner Philharmoniker’s repertoire, he invited new guest conductors such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt and established the series of European Concerts with which the orchestra annually celebrates its founding – on 1 May 1882 – in a different cultural centre each time. The Abbado era was also marked by cycles of concerts based around a literary theme, such as Prometheus and Faust.

In 2002, Claudio Abbado left the Berliner Philharmoniker, the orchestra he first conducted in 1966. Fortunately for all concerned, the connection remained fruitful and cordial until Abbado’s death in January 2014. Every year he returned to the Philharmonie, and was celebrated by both orchestra and audiences alike. However, reliving earlier successes was not enough for the maestro: Full of the joy of discovery, Abbado continued in exciting repertoire couplings and tried out new works, thus ensuring that the partnership between the Berliner Philharmoniker and their former director kept its dynamic freshness.

Interview with Claudio Abbado, Maurizio Pollini and Anna Prohaska

On old and new musical friendships

Watch interview

Concerts with Claudio Abbado at the Digital Concert Hall

European Concert 1991 from Prague go to concert
The 1994 European Concert from Meiningen go to concert
The Berliner Philharmoniker and Claudio Abbado in Tokyo go to concert
The 1996 European Concert from St. Petersburg go to concert
Claudio Abbado conducts the 1996 New Year’s Eve Concert go to concert
Claudio Abbado conducts Brahms’s Requiem go to concert
Claudio Abbado conducts the 1997 New Year’s Eve Concert go to concert
Claudio Abbado conducts the 1998 European concert go to concert
Claudio Abbado conducts the 1998 New Year’s Eve concert go to concert
Memorial Concert for Herbert von Karajan go to concert
Claudio Abbado conducts the 1999 New Year’s Eve concert go to concert
Claudio Abbado conducts the 2000 European Concert from Berlin go to concert
Claudio Abbado: The silence that follows the music go to  movie
Claudio Abbado conducts the 2000 New Year’s Eve Concert go to concert
Claudio Abbado’s Beethoven cycle from Rome go to concert
Claudio Abbado conducts Beethoven and Mendelssohn go to concert
The 2002 European Concert from Palermo go to concert
Schubert · Mahler · Debussy / Abbado go to concert
Schoenberg · Brahms / Abbado go to concert
Claudio Abbado, Maurizio Pollini and Anna Prohaska go to concert
Concert to mark the 100th anniversary of Gustav Mahler’s death go to concert
Claudio Abbado conducts works by Schumann and Berg go to concert
Claudio Abbado conducts Mendelssohn and Berlioz go to concert