Are you good enough to play in the Berlin Philharmonic?

Are you good enough to play in the Berlin Philharmonic?


norman lebrecht

April 11, 2015

They are advertising vacancies here.

berlin phil logo


  • mr oakmount says:

    I like the fact that they want their principal trumpeter to play the Haydn Concerto on the big B flat trumpet rather than the small high Eb one that has become the norm. Gives a much richer and warmer sound, while the Eb can end up sounding like an oboe (no disrespect to reed instruments intended).

    • Michael says:

      That is standard practice in Germany. Practically all of the orchestras ask for the Haydn on rotary Bb trumpet.

  • Freddy says:

    Where do I apply to become MD in 2018…..?

  • CA says:

    Too bad they never seem to post any staff vacancies. Some of us are tired if waiting for decent opportunities in the US that pay a little more than a pittance and come with an excellent product!

  • Max Grimm says:

    They’re advertising a contra-bassoon vacancy; does this mean that Sophie Dartigalongue is leaving the orchestra?

  • Robert Holmén says:

    from the announcement :

    “Two Violins tutti

    Required pieces: a Mozart-Concerto of our own choice (No. 1-5) and a concerto of our own choice”

    Perhaps someone with influence should explain der Unterschied between “our” and “your” to their personnel department.

    • Michael Schaffer says:

      “Perhaps someone with influence should explain der Unterschied between “our” and “your” to their personnel department.”

      The accusative form of “der” is “den”, Maybe someone should explain *that* to *you*?

      Oh, wait – I just did! You are welcome. 🙂

  • Daniel Farber says:

    To be looking for a principal horn, “high horn”, and principal trumpet in one season is a pretty dramatic turnover for any major orchestra. (If it were the Met Opera Orchestra, the blog-keeper would be all over it with dire predictions! “But,” as Bill Maher likes to say, “I kid the blog-keeper!”) Does Simon R. still make the final call on these positions? Or is it done by committee? Is there a probationary period for these appointments (as there is in some major US orchestras)?

    • Max Grimm says:

      Quite a few of these positions have been vacant for some time now (the trumpet position came about due to normal retirement recently). Simon Rattle along with every tenured musician gets one single vote he can cast for a candidate; the entire orchestra votes and candidates require a 2/3 majority vote to become tenured after a 2 year trial period following a successful audition.

    • MacroV says:

      As far as I know…1) the music director has only one vote that carries no more/less weight than that of any orchestra member. 2) the entire orchestra (or whoever opts to attend the auditions) votes on every candidate. 3) Musicians still have a two-year tenure period, and it can be harsh; about a decade ago, they were apparently denying tenure to about 30% of new members.

      The trumpet vacancy was posted on other sites several weeks ago; apparently Tamás Velenczei is stepping down to second trumpet (though I believe he joined the orchestra as second and eventually moved up to first), which makes me guess that 40+ year veteran Martin Kretzer (30 years as principal) will be retiring.

      They’ve been looking for a new principal horn for at least 5 years, since Radek Baborak left.

    • Shalom Rackovsky says:

      The principal horn position has been vacant for several years, as Macrov points out. The other high horn position will open up due to the impending retirement of Klaus Wallendorf, who will be GREATLY missed, both as a wonderful horn player and as one of the outstanding (funny) personalities in the orchestra. As for the contrabassoon position, it was also pointed out by Macrov that a significant number of new appointments to the orchestra do not attain tenure.

      It has also been noted, but bears repeating, that the Music Director does NOT have final say on any appointment in the BPO. On the contrary, he has very little say in the matter. This is one of the outstanding characteristics of this orchestra, and, in my opinion, contributes greatly to the stratospheric quality of the Berliner Philharmoniker.

      I might also note that I have seen occasional ads for staff positions, on the same web page,