Programme guide

A lack of young musicians, which was particularly prevalent in Berlin when the wall was still standing, gave Herbert von Karajan the idea of founding the orchestra’s own academy: highly qualified young instrumentalists would receive a two-year scholarship and regular lessons from the orchestra’s principal players, as well as playing in Philharmoniker concerts. In 1972, the year of its foundation, comparable institutions were completely unknown. Today, five other orchestras in Berlin alone have their own academies – and about a third of the Philharmoniker’s members are former scholarship holders.

Over the decades, the number of academy places has been significantly increased; in addition to the positions initially reserved for instrumentalists, one has been added for conductors and one for composers. In addition, the state now contributes to the financing of the academy.

The 50th anniversary of the Karajan Academy (originally: Orchestra Academy) of the Berliner Philharmoniker is an event worth celebrating. The guiding idea, which combined a commitment to tradition and the will to innovate, is also reflected in the programme of the concert: symphonies by Mozart and Beethoven frame a world premiere by Donghoon Shin. And in addition to chief conductor Kirill Petrenko, the concert also features conductor Nodoka Okisawa and Bruno Delepelaire: a scholarship holder and a former scholarship holder of the Karajan Academy – who has since been appointed principal cellist of the Philharmoniker.

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