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11 atmospheric concerts to get into the Christmas spirit

From Bach to Britten: How Berlin gets in the mood for Christmas

Christmas tree
Christmas tree © Getty Images, Foto: Jasmin Awad / EyeEm

Christmas music in shops and on the TV and radio can start to get on your nerves before December even begins. If you feel like screaming when you hear Mariah Carey sing ‘youuuuuuuuUU!’ just one more time, then it's time for a break from all of that with this selection of Christmas concerts in Berlin. Here's a lively spectrum of musical experience from Bach to children’s choirs to a Christmas concert and maybe one or two original twists on all those songs you hear too often.

Tip 1: NoonSong: Festive music for Advent

Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Am Hohenzollernplatz
© BA Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Foto: Friedhelm Hoffmann

A musical devotion at lunchtime, that is the NoonSong, which the eight-member vocal ensemble "sirventes berlin" has created. On Saturdays, the church on Hohenzollernplatz opens its doors at 12 noon - admission is free. On November 26, Russian Orthodox music and "Übers Gebirg" by Eccard will be heard. Romantic choral music will be in the NoonSong for the second Advent, then follows on the third Advent the Canticle of Zacharias.

When: Every Saturday during Advent
Where: Church at Hohenzollernplatz, Hohenzollerndamm, Wilmersdorf

Tip 2: Sleeping beauty

Deutsche Oper
© visitBerlin, Foto: Wolfgang Scholvien

One of the most beautiful ballets of all time features the dancers of the Staatsballett Berlin during the Christmas season. Tchaikovsky's music and Marcia Haydee's choreography will enchant you with their delicate poetry and artistic artistry full of grace and gracefulness.

When: Dec. 2, 5, 8, 15, 20, 26 and 30.
Where: Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bismarckstraaße 35, Charlottenburg

Tip 3: Romantic harp melodies for Christmas

Zitadelle Spandau im Winter
© Partner für Spandau, Foto: R. Müller

Castle battlements, defense towers, a moat. At Spandau Citadel, one of the oldest building ensembles in the city, the Middle Ages felt at home just yesterday. A really great setting for a Christmas concert! The perfect ambience for a special concert is therefore the Gothic hall at Zitadelle Spandau, where Domenica Reetz on harp and Marianne Boettcher on violin will give a festive concert. With pieces by Vivaldi, Fauré, Spohr, Massenet, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Rossini and Saint-Saens, the two musicians will enchant you and put you in a contemplative mood.

When: December 5
Where: Spandau Citadel - Gothic Hall, Spandau

Tip 4: Advent concert with the children's choir of the State Opera

© Getty Images, Foto: Kate Koreneva

The children's choir of the Staatsoper also has a nice present in store for young and old. Its popular Advent concert is now a firm fixture in the Berlin concert calendar at Christmas time. This year, the choir sings well-known Christmas carols from all over Europe and brings the Christmas story to life with Gabriel Pierné's "The Children of Bethlehem." With such wonderful carols as Hark the Herald Angels sing, Il est né le divin enfant, and In Dulci Jubilo, even the biggest Christmas grump is sure to get into the festive spirit.

When: December 8
Where: Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Unter den Linden, Mitte

Tip 5: Christmas atmosphere in the most famous church in the city

© visitBerlin, Foto: Dagmar Schwelle

The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in the City West is one of the most famous sights in Berlin. After its destruction in World War II, part of the ruins was left standing - as a reminder against the war. A modern church ensemble was built around it and inaugurated in 1961. Several concerts in the church accompany the Advent season, including, of course, Bach's Christmas Oratorio. You can also get in the mood for the holidays with a performance of Handel's Messiah, arguably one of the most popular works of sacred music.

When: December 10
Where: Memorial Church, Breitscheidplatz, Charlottenburg

More about Events in christmas time in Berlin

Tip 6: Bach's Christmas Oratorio: classical, festive, simply beautiful!

© GettyImages, Bild: Alena Kravchenko

The Christmas Oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach is a timeless masterpiece for orchestra, choir and soloists and in Germany probably the most popular piece of music for the Advent season. The well-known melodies should not be missing in any Christmas carol collection. The Konzerthausorchester Berlin and the Thomanerchor Leipzig perform the piece on several evenings in the Konzerthaus at the atmospheric Gendarmenmarkt. In the Hoffnungskirche in Pankow you can enjoy the Advent Cantata and the Christmas Oratorio I-III in historical performance practice on original instruments.

When: December 10
Where: Hoffnungskirche zu Pankow, Elsa-Brändström-Straße 33-36, Pankow

Tip 7: Jazzy and cool: LYAMBIKO - My favourite Christmas Songs

Christmas decoration
Christmas decoration © Getty Images, Foto: The Real Tokyo Life

The popular jazz singer Lyambiko presents you the most popular Christmas hits in stylish jazz arrangements. From "Driving Home for Christmas" to "White Christmas" and - last but not least - "Last Christmas". So if you're more in the mood for pop-jazz festivity than classic contemplation, this is the place for you.

When: December 17
Where: Konzerthaus, Gendarmenmarkt, Mitte

Tip 8: Pure Christmas Joy: Family Concert: "Cello Christmas"

Christmas tree with ball
© GettyImages, Bild: Bloomberg Creative Photos

A Christmas concert for the whole family: the 12 cellists of the Berliner Philharmoniker play well-known and popular Christmas carols, with the little ones also getting their money's worth. Horn player Sarah Willis hosts the evening, with the entire Philharmonie singing along. Watch out, there's a danger of catchy tunes!

When: December 17 and 18
Where: Philharmonie Berlin, Herbert-von-Karajan-Strasse 1, Tiergarten

Tip 9: Timeless and masterful: Christmas concert at the Konzerthaus

Konzerthaus at Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin Mitte
Konzerthaus at Gendarmenmarkt © Gutschera + Osthoff

The Christmas concert in the Konzerthaus will feature festive Advent and Christmas music for choir and brass ensemble. The choir of St. Hedwig's Cathedral Berlin will sing contemplative works from "Tochter Zion, freue dich" to Britten's "This littel babe" from "Ceremony of carols". And "Carol of the bells" must not be missing from this concert, which will put you in a soulful Christmas mood. And all this in such a beautiful place as the classicistic building at the Gendarmenmarkt. Stars, Christmas tree balls and the eyes in the audience will sparkle.

When: December 20
Where: Konzerthaus, Gendarmenmarkt, Mitte

Tip 10: The Berlin Christmas concert

Festively decorated Christmas tree with Berlin Bears
Festively decorated Christmas tree © visitBerlin, Foto: Mo Wüstenhagen

Traditionally, the Rundfunkchor Berlin's Christmas concert takes place in the cathedral Berliner Dom. This year, the magnificent church once again provides the setting for a reflective evening with a special a cappella program. The Rundfunkchor performs lesser-known pieces and are sacred choral works from Ukraine, including Christmas carols from Ukraine, excerpts from the Chrysostom liturgy by Yevhen Stankovych and the piece "Shchedryk", also known "Carol of the Bells". It doesn't get any more festive than this.

When: December 22
Where: Berliner Doml, Mitte

Tip 11: "The Night before Christmas" with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin

Symphony Orchestra on stage
Classical Music © Getty Images, Foto: DeshaCAM

The "Night before Christmas" promises to be not contemplative, but unleashed and wild. In Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's opera, performed in concert, a devil, a witch, her son and a tsarina meet and ignite a sparkling firework of melodious tunes and pointed dialogues. Conductor Vladimir Jurowski and his Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin bring you the magic of Christmas.

When: December 23, of course
Where: Philharmonie Berlin, Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße 1, Tiergarten

We wish you a contemplative Advent season.

Kristin: visitBerlin-Bloggerin unter


does not smile on fotos. But in real life she enjoys with a smile in her face the rich cultural life of Berlin - the metropolis both in front of and behind the scenes. Her favourite season is the Berlinale, then she spends 10 days watching movies and writing about them in the blog. All posts