It has been a tough decade for the Berlin Philharmonic, losing one media stronghold after the next.
First Deutsche Grammophon stopped recording them when sales no longer covered the BPO’s high fees. Then other labels pulled out. The recent invention of an own-label struck the market as an act of desperation and the orch’s streaming ventures are not fulfilling early dreams.
So the orch has now gone abroad and formed a partnership with WQXR, the public radio station in New York, which is funded by donations and pays negligible contributor fees. It’s a bold, non-profit move by Berlin, an attempt to groom an audience in a city with only one symphony orchestra (Berlin has five or six) and rebuild a faltering brand.
But will it work? Press release below.
(New York, NY—September 23, 2014) – This fall, the Berlin Philharmonic will partner with a US media company for the first time when it joins with WQXR, New York City’s classical music station, to present a robust roster of recorded concerts never before broadcast in the US.
Beginning on Tuesday, October 7, WQXR presents “The Berlin Philharmonic in Concert”, a two hour radio show featuring music recorded live at the Philharmonie in Berlin. This exclusive 12-part series, airing on consecutive Tuesdays at 9pm ET, allows listeners a rare chance to hear the Berlin Philharmonic on its home turf. Hosted by WQXR’s Annie Bergen, each broadcast includes a complete concert, drawn principally from the current 2014-2015 season. The never-before-available broadcasts will be available for on-demand streaming for one week on WQXR.org.
The schedule is as follows:
- October 7: Schumann Symphony No. 1 & Brahms Symphony No. 1
- October 14: Mozart Piano Concerto in B-flat major, K. 456; Messiaen Oiseaux exotiques; Haydn, Selections from his symphonies,The Creation and Seven Last Words (featuring soloist Mitsuko Uchida)
- October 21: Ives The Unanswered Question; Strauss Metamorphosen; Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 (featuring soloist Daniel Barenboim)
- October 28: Schumann Symphony No. 2 & Brahms Symphony No. 2
- November 4: Bach St. Matthew Passion
- November 11: Strauss Burleske & Also Sprach Zarathustra; Mozart Piano Concerto in E-flat major K. 449 (soloist Emanuel Ax; guest conductor Andris Nelsons)
- November 18: Bach St. John Passion
- November 25: Beethoven Symphony No. 9 in D-minor “Choral” & Szymanowski Stabat Mater
- December 2: Schumann Symphony No. 3 & Brahms Symphony No. 3
- December 9: Bach Cantata No. 58; Mendelssohn Symphony No. 3; Nielsen Symphony No. 3 (guest conductor Alan Gilbert)
- December 16: Mendelssohn Ruy Blas Overture; Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor; Rachmaninov Symphony No. 3 (soloist Martha Argerich; guest conductor Riccardo Chailly)
- December 23: Schumann Symphony No. 4 & Brahms Symphony No. 4
To celebrate this unprecedented partnership, WQXR will host a live performance by the orchestra’s The Varian Fry String Quartet on Tuesday, September 30 at 7pmin the station’s intimate event venue, The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space. WQXR’s Jeff Spurgeon hosts an evening that includes a sampling of the orchestra’s recent CD and DVD releases of music of Schumann and Bach, as well as the quartet performing music of Haydn and Schubert. Tickets are available atwww.thegreenespace.org.
In addition, WQXR will live broadcast the Berlin Philharmonic’s season opening concert at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday, October 1 to kick off this season’s Carnegie Hall Live series.