For many locals and visitors, the neo-classical Konzerthaus hall is Berlin’s most attractive venue for top-flight classical music. Here, right at the heart of the stunning Gendarmenmarkt square, you can enjoy an unforgettable classical concert experience.
The Konzerthausorchester – from Mozart to espresso
The Konzerthaus is home to the Konzerthausorchester, a symphony orchestra under principal conductor Iván Fischer. The repertoire covers a spectrum from major symphonic works to chamber music, from early music to contemporary classical music. In addition, every season has its own special theme, such as Mozart in May, or the France Festival when everyone working in the concert hall wears a red beret.
In the Mittendrin series, you can even have a seat directly among the orchestra, and experience the music and musicians as you never have before! And every day between 11 am and 6 pm, visitors can take a free peek at the main auditorium from the entrance at the top of the main stairs.
A shot of classical music after lunch. At the Espresso Concerts every Wednesday, musicians from the Konzerthausorchester and up-and-coming young talents play 45 minutes of top-flight classical music – and the tickets include a free pre-concert espresso!
Today’s Konzerthaus concert hall was originally a theatre built by Friedrich the Great in the eighteenth century. In the early nineteenth century, a new, more decorative theatre was constructed on the site to plans by Carl Gotthard Langhans, who also designed the Brandenburg Gate. But Langhans’ new theatre only stood for fifteen years before it was destroyed in a fire. In 1821, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, probably Berlin’s best known architect, was commissioned to construct a new theatre.
The Konzerthaus has hosted many outstanding events down the years. In 1789, for example, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart visited the first theatre on this site for a performance of his opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Later, Schinkel not only designed the new theatre, but also the stage set for E.T.A. Hoffmann’s opera Undine. In Schinkel’s theatre, Paganini and Franz Liszt also gave guest performances, and Richard Wagner conducted his opera The Flying Dutchman.
In the nineteenth century, when the building here was still largely used as a theatre, corner seat number 23 in the stalls was the favourite place of renowned journalist and author Theodor Fontane. From there, he watched the plays – and penned some quite scathing reviews. In the Second World War, the theatre was razed to the ground by fire during a bombing raid. The building was reopened in 1984, now as the Konzerthaus concert hall. Since then, it has been a venue for performances by major conductors and orchestras. After the Berlin Wall fell, this was where Leonard Bernstein conducted an international orchestra and chorus in Beethoven’s Ninth with the text of the famous ode An die Freude (Ode to Joy) changed to An die Freiheit (Ode to Freedom).
Externally, the Konzerthaus is a detailed reconstruction of the neo-classical design by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. In contrast, the interior is new, but inspired by the neo-classical style. The main auditorium, with its white and gold decorative elements, is very impressive. The most striking feature is the organ, with 74 organ stops and a total of 5,811 organ pipes. The Konzerthaus also houses the Apollo Hall for smaller concerts, a music club and the modern Werner-Otto Hall.
Information for school classes
School classes can register to visit an orchestra rehearsal. In these visits, which are free of charge, pupils can gain an insight into the work of a symphony orchestra. Before and after the rehearsal, they can also talk to the musicians in the orchestra. Senior classes are also allowed to visit dress rehearsals. To prepare for visiting the rehearsals, the class teachers are either sent articles from the concert programme 14 days before the visit, or a Konzerthaus volunteer comes to speak to the classes. Registrations at firstname.lastname@example.org
Parking at the Konzerthaus
At the underground garage at the corner of Taubenstraße and Jägerstraße, Konzerthaus guests can park for the special low rate of just € 5.50 for six hours. To qualify for this rate, guests must have their parking ticket stamped at the service desk in the foyer.