With its eight major symphony orchestras, numerous chamber music ensembles and world-class soloists, Berlin is the top address for classical music lovers in the whole of Germany. In addition, prices for concerts in the city are very favourable compared to international levels. Finally, the orchestras here have made a great efforts in promoting young talent, and regularly invite school children to special formats – at super reduced rates or even free of charge.
The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under the musical direction of Sir Simon Rattle is one of the most sought after orchestras in the world. Thanks to the Digital Concert Hall, you can take part in their concerts from anywhere in the world. Alongside its orchestra work, the traditional ensemble is also involved in an extensive musical education project for young people. In addition, a special feature is the lunch concerts. During the concert season, members of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra will give a chamber concert every Tuesday at 1 pm in the foyer of the Philharmonia lasting some 30 - 40 minutes free of charge. Anybody (tourists, lovers of classical music, Berliners during their lunch break) can just drop in and listen to the beautiful melodies of classical music – sitting on chairs, leaning against pillars or even lying relaxed on the floor.
The Berlin Concert House resides in a magnificent building designed by the great Berlin architect Schinkel in the heart of Berlin at the Gendarmenmarkt. It has been under the musical direction of Iván Fischer since the beginning of the 2012/2013 season. Along with classical symphony concerts, the house is offering a growing number of exciting formats. For example, the popular Wednesday afternoon Espresso Concerts that take place once or twice a month at 2 pm – admittance to this concert treat will be for a small extra fee. And the orchestra also opens its doors for its dress rehearsals to provide those interested with a view behind the curtain. School children and students are admitted free of charge to watch the public rehearsals.
Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler
Set behind the Konzerthaus is the Hanns Eisler College for Music. This is where internationally renowned artists such as Thomas Quasthoff and Tabea Zimmermann encourage young music talent. With a total of over 400 events a year, the eleven present themselves to the Berlin public at rehearsal or examination concerts or, equally at lecture evenings and music theatre performances. As a training centre for young talent, the college shows would-be musicians at their work in its event formats, thus providing a fascinating behind-the-scenes experience for school children. Many of the events cost only a small admission fee or are even free of charge.
The German Symphony Orchestra (DSO) Berlin is a traditional orchestra founded over 65 years ago as a radio symphony orchestra in the American sector of the former West Berlin. Nowadays the ensemble (under the musical direction of Tugan Sokhiev) performs on major concert stages in Berlin as well as the four corners of the world. The DSO invites school classes to its rehearsals on a regular basis. Sitting between or behind the musicians, the children experience at close hand how an orchestra works and what challenges a symphony orchestra is faced with. After the rehearsal, the children are free to put questions to the musicians and exchange their impressions. Visits to the rehearsals are free of charge – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for prior reservation and arranging dates.
Opera in Berlin
Berlin possesses a unique opera repertoire with a total of three prestigious opera houses. The Staatsoper (State Opera House) temporarily in the Schiller Theatre, the Berlin Deutsche Oper (German Opera House) and the Komische Opera (Comic Opera House) have all enhanced their profiles with numerous first nights and world premieres – whereby each of the opera houses has its own musical emphasis. The independent orchestras not only regularly perform in major symphony concerts together with international star soloists, but also have smaller-scale concert formats to invite the public on tours of discovery. The opera houses not only offer reduced admittance prices for groups but also special offers for school children. All three institutions are particularly involved with promoting young talent in the city’s schools, while many of their workshops, opera visits and guided tours are also suitable for that one-off visit.