At a press conference today with general manager Andrea Zietzschmann, chief conductor Kirill Petrenko [pictured] and principal cellist and media representative Olaf Maninger, the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation’s
revised programmes for November and December 2020 were presented.
In line with the new hygiene concept introduced by the Berlin Senate in September, from 1 November
the audience will be seated in a “chessboard pattern” with a maximum of 1000 occupied seats in the
main auditorium of the Philharmonie Berlin and 567 seats in the Chamber Music Hall of the Philharmonie
Berlin. It will be mandatory to wear a mouth and nose covering during the whole concert. The hygiene
rules also stipulate that concerts in the Philharmonie will continue to be played without an interval and
last a maximum of 90 minutes. Introductory events and lunch concerts are also cancelled for November
and December. Programme booklets will continue to be available in abridged form and free of charge.
To further analyse the ventilation situation on site, the Philharmonie Berlin is currently working closely
with the TU Berlin to research the behaviour of aerosols in the auditorium. First results show a high
efficiency of the air conditioning system, which is operated with 100% fresh air.
Andrea Zietzschmann: “We are very grateful that we are now changing the auditorium occupancy to the
so-called chessboard pattern and that we can therefore once again welcome significantly more visitors
to the Philharmonie. This is an important step towards more normality and a lively exchange between
the orchestra and our audience. They can look forward to outstanding conductors, soloists and new
projects such as our Beethoven focus, which we have added to our programme.”
Kirill Petrenko: “I am very happy that since the end of August we have finally been able to play in front
of an audience again. The orchestra has adapted admirably to the unfamiliar playing conditions on
stage, which have taken some getting used to, both for us and for the audience. Now that the rules for
going to concerts have changed, I hope that we will soon be able to sit closer together on stage and
hear each other better – as far as is possible within health guidelines.”
Olaf Maninger: “The special situation in recent months has created an even closer relationship between
the orchestra and Kirill Petrenko. We are aware that our approach to the current challenges is closely
monitored, which is why we want to set a good example and take a responsible step-by-step approach
so that we can once again play to a full house.”
Instead of the first joint USA tour with Kirill Petrenko, originally planned for November, there will be
performances in four German cities and two additional concerts in Berlin. On 4 November at the
Alte Oper Frankfurt and on 5 November at the Kölner Philharmonie, the programme of the season-
opening concert, Verklärte Nacht by Arnold Schoenberg and Johannes Brahms’ Fourth Symphony, will
be presented once again. Andrew Norman’s new piece “Sabina”, Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen and
Dmitri Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony will be performed at the concerts on 7 November at the
Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, on 10 November at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and in the additional
concerts on 11 and 12 November at the Philharmonie Berlin.
For the second time, Kirill Petrenko will conduct the Berliner Philharmoniker’s traditional New Year’s Eve
concert on 29, 30 and 31 December. Together with the guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas, they will present
Spanish music. It is planned to broadcast this concert live in cinemas, in addition to the usual TV, radio
and Digital Concert Hall broadcasts.
In the other concerts in November and December, almost all the guest conductors and soloists will
appear as originally scheduled. At the concerts under the baton of Daniel Barenboim on 28/29
November, there will even be an additional soloist: Emmanuel Pahud, principal flute of the Berliner
Philharmoniker, who will play works by Busoni and Ibert.
In addition, the “Beethoven Marathon”, originally planned for April 2020, will now take place in the
Chamber Music Hall in November. Under the title “Beethoven among friends”, all string quartets as well
as many other chamber music works by the composer, the anniversary of whose birth falls this year, will
be presented by musicians of the Berliner Philharmoniker in a total of 10 concerts.
All other concerts planned for the Chamber Music Hall will be able to take place as planned, in some
cases moved to the main auditorium of the Philharmonie and with minor programme adjustments.
Among others, these include a two-concert Mozart focus with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, two
Scandinavian jazz concerts, and a lieder recital with Elīna Garanča. The Philharmoniker’s artist in
residence, the violist Tabea Zimmermann, will give a recital, and the Berliner Barock Solisten will
celebrate their 25th birthday.
In the case of two orchestral programmes, two programme versions are planned and are published on
the website. The first will come into play if the distances on stage can be reduced to 1 metre for the
strings and 1.50 metres for the winds. The second version will take effect if the currently permitted
distances of 1.50 metres between the strings and 2 metres between the winds has to be maintained. As
a further health measure, the orchestra, in cooperation with the Rostock-based biotech company
Centogene, has been tested for SARS-CoV-2 every week since early September before rehearsals
Advance ticket sales for the months of November and December start on 11 October; for sponsors and
patrons on 27 September. Subscribers will have pre-sale rights at reduced prices from 5 October. While
all subscriptions planned for the Chamber Music Hall continue to be valid, orchestral subscriptions are
still suspended. Subscribers will be informed separately.
The complete programme plus all information on ticket sales and concert attendance will be available
from 22 September at
The attention of representatives of the press is drawn to the fact that due to the limited number of tickets
available, the allocation of press tickets remains limited.
The Berliner Philharmoniker would like to thank the friends, sponsors and patrons of the Berliner
Philharmoniker and its main sponsor, Deutsche Bank, very much for their support.